Bloomberg News

Medtronic Seeks Royalties, Interest From NuVasive Over Patents

February 12, 2012

Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Medtronic Inc. asked a federal judge to order NuVasive Inc. to pay royalties on sales of spinal surgery products that infringed its patents, as well as $19.8 million in interest on a jury verdict last year.

The request, filed yesterday in federal court in San Diego, follows a $101 million verdict won by Medtronic. The Sept. 20 verdict 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.

“Anything less would reward NuVasive’s ongoing infringement and would encourage NuVasive to continue to infringe rather than to develop its own technology,” Medtronic’s lawyers said in the filing. NuVasive, in its own filing, argued that it shouldn’t have to pay any more, and that if the court does award pre-judgment interest and royalties, the amounts should be lower than Medtronic seeks.

The trial was over claims by Minneapolis-based Medtronic’s Warsaw Orthopedic unit that San Diego-based NuVasive infringed three patents for implants capable of being inserted trans- laterally between adjacent vertebrae, a plate and screw system used to stabilize vertebrae in the cervical spine and a tissue retractor, according to court filings.

After the verdict, NuVasive failed to convince U.S. District Judge Michael M. Anello that the patents weren’t infringed and that the jury verdict wasn’t supported by the evidence.

No Permanent Injunction

In his Jan. 26 ruling, the judge rejected NuVasive’s claim that one of the patents in dispute was invalid. He 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.

Medtronic asked in today’s filing for the judge to impose royalties of at least 36 percent for one infringed patent, 11 percent for a second patent and 7 percent for the third.

NuVasive said the royalties should be no more than 10 percent for the first patent, 3 percent for the second and 2 percent for the third. Pre-judgment interest for Medtronic should be capped at $1.3 million, and Medtronic should pay $3,551 in interest for the patent it infringed, NuVasive said in its filing.

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

--Editors: Peter Blumberg, Michael Hytha

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Callahan in federal court in San Diego at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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