Injunction upheld against spine device allegedly reverse engineered from competitor

Spinal Tech

An appellate court on Aug. 9 upheld a preliminary injunction against a medical device distributor accused of stealing trade secrets from its parent company to develop a rival spine device.

The injunction relates to Aegis Spine's AccelFix-XT line of expandable cages, which Life Spine alleges are reverse engineered from its ProLift expandable cage.

Aegis Spine, owned by South Korea-based L&K Biomed, argued that Life Spine's trade secrets were not protected because they were publicly available.

The company said the devices were "described at length in patents, displayed at trade shows, depicted in detail on the internet and ultimately sold to numerous purchasers," according to court documents.

The court rejected Aegis Spine's argument, outlining that the trade secrets — including ProLift's exact dimensions and measurements — had not been publicly disclosed.

Aegis Spine likely breached its confidentiality obligations and other aspects of its distribution agreement, and Life Spine was likely to suffer "irreparable harm" without an injunction, the court said.

The decision means Aegis Spine cannot market or sell AccelFix-XT until Life Spine's claims are decided by a jury.

"We are gratified that the Seventh Circuit validated our claims just as the District Court did in entering the preliminary injunction," Life Spine CEO Michael Butler said in an Aug. 11 news release. "We appreciate that our proprietary ProLift expandable implants will remain protected under the Seventh Circuit's ruling, and we look forward to presenting our case to a jury."

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