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Johnson & Johnson v. Medtronic

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

Medtronic's Vertex multi-axial pedicle screws infringe a Johnson & Johnson/DePuy patent, making Medtronic liable for $226.3 million in damages, a federal jury in Boston determines Sept. 27. In 2006, a federal appeals court sent the case back to the Massachusetts district court after finding that the lower court did not fully consider the "doctrine of equivalents" - which allows for an infringement finding if a technology performs substantially the same function in substantially the same way as a patent design, even if they are not equivalent - in its original non-infringement ruling. The Boston jury found Medtronic to have infringed under the doctrine. Medtronic will appeal and says that the decision might not be finalized for up to two years. In any case, it is phasing in a new "non-infringing" screw design for the Vertex line, which accounts for "under $100 million" in revenue, the company says

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Firm will pay substantially less in damages under a Federal Appeals Court decision that affirmed that Medtronic's now-defunct Vertex line of multi-axial pedicle screws infringed a Johnson & Johnson/DePuy Spine patent. The court cut $226 million in initial damages liability down to about $149 million, Medtronic announces June 1 (1"The Gray Sheet" Oct. 1, 2007, In Brief). The appeals court's review of the initial 2007 patent infringement verdict also eliminated another $10.5 million in sanctions and attorneys' fees. The infringing screws are no longer on the market, and the case has no bearing on Medtronic's current Vertex Select and OC systems, notes Medtronic Spine and Biologics President Steve La Neve

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