A Medical Device Daily

NuVasive (San Diego) reported that rival Medtronic's (Minneapolis) spine division is suing it for patent infringement.

The company, which makes medical products for the surgical treatment of spine disorders, said that Medtronic Sofamor Danek (Memphis) brought the lawsuit.

NuVasive's current principal product offering includes a minimally disruptive surgical platform called Maximum Access Surgery, as well as a growing offering of cervical and motion preservation products.

In a press release, Alex Lukianov, NuVasive's chairman/CEO, said: "It is not surprising that Medtronic would attempt to intimidate NuVasive with this suit, since NuVasive represents a growing threat to Medtronic's spine business. Medtronic did not notify us of the lawsuit prior to filing it, and has not been in contact with us yet."

Lukianov added that the company is analyzing its potential counterclaims "based on our own significant patent portfolio and intellectual property rights."

Lukianov also noted that the timing of this lawsuit is strange, "given the fact the allegedly infringing products in some instances have been on the market for several years."

Marybeth Thorsgaard, a Medtronic spokeswoman, confirmed the lawsuit, noting that the company's subsidiary is accusing NuVasive of patent infringement across four product categories and 12 patents.

Thorsgaard said that Medtronic spends a lot of money developing its intellectual property. "Medtronic respects the patents of others and expects others to respect Medtronic's patents," she said.

In other legalities:

Following a unanimous jury verdict that Enpath's (Minneapolis) ViaSeal and FlowGuard devices infringe key patents held by Pressure Products (Santa Barbara, California), a U.S. District Court judge in Texas has entered a final judgment against Enpath that permanently enjoins it from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing both the ViaSeal and FlowGuard.

The court ruled that the injunction shall be in force immediately and remain in place until the expiration of the patents. The court temporarily had stayed the injunction against FlowGuard only, pending possible review of the matter by the court of appeals (Medical Device Daily, Aug. 12, 2008). However, the court said that it will reconsider the stay regarding FlowGuard sold for dialysis procedures in six months to determine whether the stay should be lifted and the injunction be made immediately effective.

Pressure Products said it believes the temporary stay is not based on a consideration of the merits of any appeal by Enpath, but is entered to preserve the status quo while the court of appeals considers the matter.

"We are very pleased that the legal process continues to move forward and that this phase is complete," said Dr. Paul Kurth, president of Pressure Products. "The entry of the final judgment and permanent injunction solidifies the strength of the Pressure Products patent portfolio in the valved, peelable introducer market."

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