Medtronic Patent Trial Victory Over NuVasive Remains Intact

Medtronic Inc. (MDT)’s $101.2 million jury verdict against NuVasive Inc. over spinal surgery patents was left intact by the judge who presided over the September trial.

U.S. District Judge Michael Anello in San Diego, at a hearing today, denied NuVasive’s requests to overturn the Sept. 20 jury verdict or order a new trial. Anello issued tentative rulings to that effect yesterday.

“The bottom line is that I now respectfully affirm my tentatives denying the motions,” the judge said.

The $101.2 million damages verdict, which was awarded after a two-week trial, was the 18th-largest jury award in the U.S. in 2011 and the fourth-largest in a patent-infringement claim, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

After the verdict, San Diego-based NuVasive argued that the patents weren’t infringed and the jury verdict wasn’t supported by the evidence.

Permanent Injunction

The judge today rejected NuVasive’s claim that one of the patents in dispute is invalid, and also denied Medtronic’s request for a permanent injunction barring NuVasive from selling the devices found to infringe its patents.

Anello additionally left intact the jury’s award of $660,000 in damages to NuVasive for Medtronic’s infringement of one of its patents.

“We respectfully differ with some of the rulings and are in the process of assessing our options going forward,” Luke Dauchot, a lawyer for Medtronic, said in an interview after today’s hearing.

NuVasive’s lawyer, Frank E. Scherkenbach, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on today’s rulings.

Medtronic is still seeking post-verdict damages dating from June 10, 2010, the ending date on which the jury’s finding was based, to the present.

The judge asked lawyers to file legal briefs on how to compute post-verdict damages and scheduled a Feb. 27 status conference.

NuVasive closed at $15.57 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading, down 4.5 percent. Medtronic, based in Minneapolis, fell 1.3 percent to $39.43 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

The case is Medtronic Sofamor Danek USA v. NuVasive Inc. (NUVA), 3:08-cv-1512, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Blumberg in San Francisco at pblumberg1@bloomberg.net Bill Callahan in federal court in San Diego at Callahan@san.rr.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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