Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) won a patent infringement lawsuit brought by NuVasive Inc. (NSDQ:NUVA) after a federal judge in California ruled yesterday that NuVasive failed to prove its claims about the surgical dilator patent.
San Diego-based NuVasive sued Medtronic in August 2012 in the U.S. District Court for Southern California, alleging that the 16mm NIM-Eclipse direct lateral dilator made by Medtronic subsidiary Warsaw infringes its ‘922 patent.
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office ruled in 2013 that there were ornamental difference between the Medtronic device and the dilator described in the patent. Medtronic moved for summary judgment of non-infringement, “on the basis that the design features of the accused dilator and the ‘922 patent are sufficiently distinct and plainly dissimilar, such that NuVasive cannot prove infringement as a matter of law,” according to court documents.
Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo yesterday found for Medtronic, ruling that NuVasive failed to prove that the devices are alike enough.
“The overall ornamental aspects of the 16mm NIM-Eclipse direct lateral dilator are not substantially similar to those of the ‘922 patent design,” Bencivengo wrote. “The court finds that NuVasive cannot establish by a preponderance of the evidence that an ordinary observer would be deceived into thinking that the accused device is the same as the patented design.”
Medtronic and NuVasive are no strangers in the courtroom, having a waged a years-long legal battle over a variety of patents covering spine implant technology. Last July Medtronic asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appeals court’s decision upholding a NuVasive win.