Medtronic suit needs a revisit, says SCOTUS
Washington DC | 21 January 2016

The Supreme Court has ordered the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to reassess its ruling in Medtronic v NuVasive in light of its own May 2015 decision in Commil v Cisco.

The Supreme Court issued a grant-vacate-and-remand order in favour of medical device maker Medtronic on 19 January, sending the case back to the Federal Circuit for a reassessment of its March 2015 decision to affirm a district court’s finding of indirect infringement of a spinal surgery patent belonging to rival NuVasive.

Two months after the Federal Circuit upheld the infringement finding, the Supreme Court held in Commil v Cisco that a good faith belief in a patent’s validity is not a defence for induced infringement, prompting Medtronic to request a grant-vacate-and-remand order on appeal.

In Commil v Cisco, the Supreme Court held that inducement requires proof that the accused inducer knew that the actions being induced constituted patent infringement.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the indirect infringement verdict because Medtronic “was aware of the patent” and “specifically taught doctors to use the [accused] product during surgical procedures” in an infringing way.

But, crucially, the Federal Circuit didn’t rule on whether Medtronic knew those acts were infringing, prompting the Supreme Court to order a redo in light of Commil v Cisco.

In March 2015, the Federal Circuit also overturned $102 million damages award against NuVasive, after the medical device maker had been found guilty of three spinal surgery patents belonging to Medtronic.

The court found the $102 million damages award to be incorrect because Medtronic cannot recover damages for lost profits or for the sale of conveyed products.

Author: Mark Dugdale



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