A federal jury in San Diego issued a split verdict in a patent infringement lawsuit yesterday between Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT) and NuVasive Inc. (NSDQ:NUVA), awarding $101.2 million to Medtronic and $660,000 to its smaller rival.
The case dates back to 2008, when a group of Medtronic subsidiaries sued NuVasive, accusing the San Diego-based company of infringing 9 patents relating to spinal implants. NuVasive in turn accused Medtronic of trespassing on three of its patents.
The companies’ reactions to the decision fell along predictable lines, with Medtronic expressing its pleasure and NuVasive vowing to fight on.
"We are pleased by the jury’s verdict," Medtronic Spinal president Doug King said in prepared remarks. "The decision confirms our leadership in spinal implant technology, and we remain committed to vigorously defending our intellectual property."
"[T]he jury award only reflects damages through June 2010 and Medtronic will file a motion for an accounting from NuVasive to bring the damages up to date," MDT lawyer Alexander MacKinnon told Bloomberg after the trial.
"NuVasive believes the facts and the law do not support the jury’s findings of infringement and validity, and will seek to overturn the verdict in post-trial motions with the district court," according to a press release. "If the district court does not grant NuVasive’s motions, the company intends to vigorously challenge the verdict through an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate process with the federal court will likely take at least one year."
"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," added chairman & CEO Alex Lukianov. "We intend to vigorously defend the investments we have made to invent the lateral approach to spine fusion surgery and to become the most innovative spine technology company in the world. As such, we will aggressively challenge this verdict through the appellate process."