Lawsuit Over Hip Implant Design Filed Against DePuy, Wright, Zimmer

Stryker Corp. has filed a patent lawsuit against competing hip implant manufacturers, including DePuy Orthopaedics, Wright Medical and Zimmer, alleging infringement on one of its acetabular cup designs.

The complaint was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey, alleging that DePuy’s Pinnacle hip and Duraloc systems, Wright’s Lineage and Dynasty systems and Zimmer’s Continuum system violate a patent held by Stryker on an acetabular cup assembly design.

The acetabular cup is a primary component of hip replacement systems, and Styker alleges that it’s competitors are infringing on their designs featuring a dual locking mechanism that is capable of accommodating a “plurality of bearings” with different characteristics.

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Stryker is seeking damages for patent infringement as well as an injunction on the companies that would bar them from infringing further on Stryker’s patent.

Although their is no indication that the acetabular cup design features at issue in this patent case are involved, the DePuy Pinnacle hip has been the target of a number of complaints in recent months by individuals who claim that a defective design with that product makes the Pinnacle hip replacement system prone to early failure.

According to allegations raised in more than 500 DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits filed by individuals throughout the United States, metal-on-metal variations of the hip replacement system can cause problems as microscopic shavings of metal are released in to the body from the metal parts rubbing against each other.

All DePuy Pinnacle product liability lawsuits filed in federal courts throughout the United States have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Many of the complaints allege that DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has been aware of the problems with the metal-on-metal hip implant for some time and that a DePuy Pinnacle hip recall should have been issued several years ago.

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