Judgment Against Mary Kay Upheld in TriStrata Case

In 2005, a jury found that Mary Kay Inc. infringed on the patent rights of TriStrata Technology Inc. (a subsidiary of Neostrata) in regards to their alpha-hydroyacid (AHA) technology. TriStrata was awarded over $26 million, and Mary Kay appealed. The appeal was upheld by a Federal judge last week. Now that interest is tacked on, Mary Kay owes $41 million.

Several patents for wrinkle creams were at issue in the case. TriStrata holds more than 125 patents related to alpha hydroxy acids and other skin care technologies. It licenses its patents to 40 companies in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, including Avon, L’Oreal, Elizabeth Arden Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Chanel. Mary Kay was one of several companies sued for infringing on these patents.

From the website of Robis, Kaplan Miller & Ciresi, the law firm representing TriStrata:


Minneapolis (January 2007) – On January 10, 2007, the United States Courts of Appeals upheld a judgment against Mary Kay Inc. in excess of $41 million. The case was heard by the Federal Circuit on Tuesday, January 9, 2007, and the court summarily affirmed the judgment the following day.

In March 2005, a jury found that Mary Kay infringed several patents owned by TriStrata Technology Inc. related to alpha-hydroxyacid (AHA) skin care technology and awarded TriStrata more than $26 million in damages. On March 31, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware issued final judgment affirming the jury verdict and granting prejudgment verdict interest to TriStrata. The Court also granted TriStrata’s motion for a permanent injunction enjoining Mary Kay against making or selling the infringing products. With interest, the total award amounted to more than $41 million.

“We are extremely pleased that the Federal Circuit ruled with such dispatch on the appeal,” said Michael V. Ciresi, chairman of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. and co-lead trial counsel for Tristrata. “It is consistent with our view that the jury’s determination was absolutely correct.”

“TriStrata has developed pioneering technology. This case illustrates the importance of the patent system in protecting such technology,” said Jan M. Conlin of Robins, Kaplan Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., co-lead trial counsel.

TriStrata is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NeoStrata Company, Inc., a research-based dermatological company.

The case is Tristrata Technology v. Mary Kay Inc., case no. 1:01-cv-00127-JJF, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.