A California federal judge last week shot down NuVasive‘s (NSDQ:NUVA) bid to escape a $30 million trademark infringement loss to NeuroVision Medical Products and granted NeuroVision’s motions for a permanent injunction, cancelling NuVasive’s rights to the NeuroVision trade name in the process.
NeuroVision 1st sued NuVasive in 2009, alleging infringement of its namesake trademark.
Under Judge Manuel Real of the U.S. District Court for Central California, a jury in October 2010 found that NuVasive infringed the NeuroVision trademark with some of its neuromonitoring products. NuVasive appealed, arguing that Real "fundamentally misunderstood trademark law" and "exhibited hostility toward NuVasive’s counsel in front of the jury." In September 2012, the appeals court agreed and overturned Real’s ruling, rebuking the judge and remanding the case for a new trial under a different judge.
But last April, a new jury under Judge Judge Dale Fischer also found that NuVasive infringed the trademark, finding the infringement willful and imposing $30 million in damages, according to court documents. NuVasive asked Fischer to overturn the verdict, or to declare a new trial or grant a judgment based on its affirmative defenses.
Fischer demurred August 5, denying all of NuVasive’s motions and granting NeuroVision’s bids for an injunction and the trademark cancellation, according to court documents.
"Because the verdict is not contrary to the clear weight of the evidence, neither judgment as a matter of law nor a new trial is warranted," Fischer wrote. "The court finds that Plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction.
"The jury found that NuVasive fraudulently obtained its trademark registrations and used plaintiff’s mark in a manner likely to cause confusion. By determining that $30 million of NuVasive’s profits was attributable to the infringement, the jury necessarily found that plaintiff suffered substantial harm from NuVasive’s use of the mark," the judge wrote, ordering the companies to confer on the language of the injunction or to file separate injunctions, with an explanation of each side’s reasoning, according to the documents.
NuVasive has said it plans to appeal any adverse decisions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, noting that any damage awards would be stayed during the potential 2-year appeals process.