Hospitals

Paris High Court Rules in Favor of CoorsTek in Lawsuit Claiming Trademark Infringement of Ceramic Orthopaedic Hip Componets

March 07 2018

Paris, France – CoorsTek today announced that the Paris High Court has ruled in its favor in a lawsuit brought by CeramTec GmbH attempting to block the manufacture and sale of CoorsTek’s CeraSurf®-p “pink” ceramic hip components.

In its ruling, the Paris High Court stated that CeramTec sought to “indefinitely perpetuate the technical effect” of its patent covering its Biolox Delta materials—which expired at the same time CeramTec was filing for its “pink” trademarks—in order to prevent its competitors from selling products using the once patented composition. The court found that CeramTec’s actions at the time of filing the trademarks were done in bad faith. The results of this judgement are that CeramTec’s European Union trademark registrations related to the color pink as applied to ceramic implants are invalid and unenforceable throughout the European Union, and that CeramTec’s infringement action against CoorsTek was dismissed.

“CoorsTek is pleased with this decision as it supports CoorsTek’s efforts to be able to provide medical device manufacturers with additional access to high-quality, substantially equivalent implantable ceramic components,” said Jonathan Coors, Co-CEO of CoorsTek. “This ruling is one more step in opening up the implantable device market to further competition, benefitting patients and enabling CoorsTek to achieve its mission of making the world measurably better.”

The inherent pink color of CoorsTek CeraSurf®-p ceramic material is a natural result of the chromium oxide dopant used in the ceramic matrix to provide a combination of hardness and toughness. CeraSurf®-p ceramic hip implant femoral heads (hip balls) and acetabular liners (cups) demonstrate extreme durability and longevity in applications due to a combination of high-performance ceramics, metals and polymers. CeraSurf®-p ceramic femoral heads and acetabular liners have received regulatory approvals and have been distributed for clinical use as bearing surfaces for hip implant systems in South America since 2011 and Europe since 2012, and received FDA 510(k) clearance in the U.S. in 2016.

CeramTec originally brought the suit against CoorsTek in 2013, claiming the development and marketing of the pink CoorsTek acetabular liners and femoral heads was in direct violation of its now invalid European Union trademark registrations.

The Paris High Court decision follows a similar ruling in January 2017, when the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ruled in favor of CoorsTek in its lawsuit challenging CeramTec’s claims to the color pink for implantable ceramic components. In that ruling, the U.S. District Court stated that CeramTec does not own any trademark or trade dress rights in the color pink in the U.S. and enjoined CeramTec from interfering with the rights of CoorsTek Medical to market CeraSurf®-p ceramic components in the United States.

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Mason Krell

Mason began his career in the Orthopedic Industry in 2017 when he joined The De Angelis Group as a Research Manager. He has developed a strong network within the industry and is very dedicated to helping companies maximize opportunities and disrupt markets.

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One Comment

  1. That’s a very rare case when a color trademark is cancelled because of functionality doctrine. Trademarks are not designed to protect functional features of products. A good example of the functionality doctrine in action is the shape of LEGO blocks, which has been denied trademark protection in many countries. But I can’t quickly think of any other case where functionality doctrine was applied to the color being trademarked.

    Andrei Mincov

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