Howmedica Osteonics Corp. v. Zimmer, Inc., No. 2015-1232, -1234, 1239

In a case concerning socket assemblies used in prosthetic hip implants, Howmedica Osteonics Corp. and Stryker Ireland Ltd. (collectively “Stryker”) appealed from the District of New Jersey’s noninfringement ruling based upon its claim-construction decision and its refusal to allow Stryker to assert infringement under the doctrine of equivalents (“DOE”). The Federal Circuit concluded that the specification supported the district court’s claim construction, and therefore found that the district court properly granted summary judgment of noninfringement. The Federal Circuit further concluded that it was not an abuse of discretion for the district court to refuse to allow Stryker to assert infringement under the DOE. In particular, the Federal Circuit noted that Stryker had not asserted the DOE in its original infringement contentions (aside from a statement purporting to reserve the right to assert the DOE), and never sought to amend its infringement contentions to include allegations under the DOE. The Federal Circuit pointed to New Jersey’s Local Patent Rules, and specifically noted that the local rules provide patentees with a mechanism for seeking to amend infringement contentions after the issuance of a claim-construction ruling. Because Stryker did not seek to amend, and because the Federal Circuit deferred to the district court’s conclusion that Stryker’s purported reservation of rights was insufficient, the Federal Circuit found no abuse of discretion in the district court’s refusal to allow Stryker to assert the DOE. Accordingly, the Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court.