Medtronic scores win in SSI case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has reversed parts of a lower court ruling that doubled $5.7 million in damages against Medtronic in a case involving intervertebral implants. 

Spine Solutions (SSI), a subsidiary of Synthes, had sued the device giant in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, alleging Medtronic's Maverick, A-Maverick, and O-Maverick intervertebral implants infringed certain claims of the '071 patent. At trial, a jury rendered a verdict in favor of SSI and found Medtronic's infringement was willful and ordered it to pay $5.7 million in lost profits and an 18 percent reasonable royalty on the remaining $9.1 million in revenue from infringing sales of the products in question. The District Court ultimately doubled the damages award and awarded attorney fees, according to court documents.

However, the Appeals Court vacated the jury's award of lost profits damages and ordered a judgment of noninfringement with respect to the O-Maverick product be entered. It also reversed the court's denial of Medtronic's motion for a judgment as a matter of law of no willfulness and vacated the enhanced damages and attorney fee awards.

Finally, the Appeals Court asked that the lower court modify the terms of a permanent injunction that forbids Medtronic from using, selling, or transferring any accused devices that are already outside the U.S. by deleting the extraterritorial portion. "Medtronic's overseas sales of the Maverick products cannot infringe any U.S. patent, and there is little risk that the infringing devices will be imported," the court says in its ruling. "Thus, the extraterritorial portion of the injunction appears to be premised solely on Medtronic's past infringement, not on the prevention of future infringement. This is contrary to the plain language of 35 U.S.C. § 283."

The Appeals Court did uphold the other portions of the ruling and asked lower court to re-determine what Medtronic owes SSI, as MassDevices notes.

- read the decision
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