The US District Court of the Southern District of California in San Diego has awarded Medtronic US$101.2 million in damages after it found that NuVasive’s CoRoent XL implants, MaXcess II and III retractors, and Helix and Helix mini anterior cervical plates infringed three patents owned by Medtronic. The trial is the first of several that will review a long-running case between Medtronic and NuVasive about patent infringement.
Doug King, senior vice president and president of Medtronic Spinal, said: “We are pleased by the jury’s verdict.The decision confirms our leadership in spinal implant technology, and we remain committed to vigorously defending our intellectual property.”
However, Medtronic was itself, with its NIM-Eclipse System, found to infringe NuVasive’s patent No: 7,470,236. The jury ordered Medtronic to pay US$660,000 in damages. Both the damages awarded to Medtronic and the damages awarded to NuVasive are for lost profits and back royalty payments. Future royalty payments will not be decided until a final judgement is made in the next few months. NuVasive has said it has “ample cash reserves” to meet any requirement that the Court determines is necessary.
Predictably, NuVasive does not agree with the jury’s verdict that it has infringed three of Medtronic’s patents. Alex Lukianov, chairman and chief executive officer of NuVasive, said: “While we are disappointed with today’s legal outcome on the remaining three patents, we are mindful that this is only phase one of what will be a multi-phase process. This outcome has in no way impacted the daily operations of our business and our sale force will continue to deliver outstanding services levels to our surgeon customers.” He added that the company would “vigorously defend” its investments in spinal fusion surgery. “As such, we will aggressively challenge this verdict through the appellate process.”
Medtronic first filed a lawsuit against NuVasive in 2008 because it claimed the latter had infringed nine of its patents. NuVasive countersued, claiming Medtronic had infringed three of its patents. The Court has broken the case into phases and this recent verdict is phase one.