The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit this week shot down an appeal by Wright Medical(NSDQ:WMGI) seeking to obtain legal fees related to a patent infringement case against Spineology which was decided in Wright’s favor this summer.
Wright appealed after the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota ruled that Wright could not seek to collect legal fees from Spineology after winning a drawn-out patent infringement case against the orthopedic company.
Wright had argued that Spineology’s claim, which centered around construction of the term “body” were meritless and that Spineology’s litigation conduct rendered the case “exceptional,” which could enable the company to seek reimbursement for legal fees, according to court documents.
The lower court rejected Wright’s argument, saying that “the arguments made by Spineology to support its damages theory … are not so meritless to render the case exceptional,” according to court documents.
Wright appealed to the higher court, which said it found no abuse in the district court’s determination, and affirmed the decision.
In July, a federal appeals court upheld Wright’s win in the patent spat with Spineology over bone reamers.
St. Paul, Minn.-based Spineology sued Wright in early 2015, alleging infringement of several claims in a patent covering an expandable reamer designed to cut chambers within bone larger than the external opening into the chamber; Memphis-based Wright makes an expandable reamer called the X-Ream.
Judge Joan Ericksen of the U.S. District Court for Minnesota found in July 2017 that five of the claims were invalid on indefiniteness and that Wright did not infringe the two other claims, based on a claim construction established by Erickson. Spineology appealed to the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which backed Wright in a July 5 ruling written by Judge Timothy Dyk.
The appeals court sent the case back to Ericksen with orders to vacate the invalidity judgment and enter judgment of non-infringement.
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