Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) claimed another victory in the ongoing patent spat with NuVasive (NSDQ:NUVA) when a California judge ruled that Medtronic did not engage in inequitable conduct in developing spinal patents that NuVasive was found to infringe upon.
NuVasive had asked the court to nullify the spinal patents, arguing that Medtronic’s inventors engaged in misconduct.
"The Court concludes NuVasive did not carry its burden to prove the existence of inequitable conduct during the prosecution of the ‘973 patent," Judge Michael Anello of the of the U.S. District Court for Southern California wrote.
NuVasive’s complaint alleged that Medtronic inventor Dr. Gary Michelson and his cadre of agents had withheld relevant articles, misrepresented the state of prior art and changed the priority date on the contentious patent, according to court documents.
All 3 allegations where rejected by Judge Anello, who wrote that NuVasive failed to provide "clear and convincing evidence" that its allegations were true.
The latest bout follows the court’s denial of Medtronic’s request for an injunction preventing NuVasive from selling spinal implants that a jury found to infringe Medtronic patents last year. Medtronic responded by seeking enhanced damages and royalties.
"Anything less would reward NuVasive’s ongoing infringement and would encourage NuVasive to continue to infringe rather than to develop its own technology," Medtronic argued in court documents. "NuVasive has the ability to pay these rates and should not be permitted to earn a substantial profit from its ongoing infringement."
The 2 companies are still embroiled in another patent battle in which Medtronic was ordered to pay $10 million in back royalties for guidance catheters that an Oklahoma jury decided willfully infringed on NuVasive’s patents.
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