Patent infringement disputes are rife within the medtech industry this year. Here are eight cases involving spine and orthopedic companies that Becker's has reported on:
1. Globus Medical sued Life Spine in October, alleging that the company has infringed upon seven of its patents related to intervertebral expandable implants and surgical systems using them. Globus Medical is seeking injunctive relief and damages for the alleged infringement, which relates to Life Spine's Prolift line of expandable implants.
2. In July, Stryker agreed to pay $15 million to resolve a patent dispute that Conformis filed against Wright Medical, which Stryker acquired in November 2020. The lawsuit alleged that several of Wright Medical's shoulder instruments — and implant components used in conjunction with them — infringed upon Conformis' patents.
3. Medacta in July agreed to pay at least $12 million to settle allegations of patent infringement and tortious interference against MicroPort Orthopedics, a developer of knee and hip implants.
4. Mark Barry, MD, a Las Vegas-based pediatric orthopedic and scoliosis surgeon, filed patent infringement cases against Alphatec and SeaSpine in June. Dr. Barry alleges the device companies both sell spinal alignment devices that infringe on his patents and is seeking cash compensation to be determined at a trial.
5. Safe Orthopaedics won a patent infringement case against Neo Medical in May after a court found the company was importing and selling products on French territory that reproduced characteristics of one of Safe Orthopaedics' patents. The court ruled that Neo Medical cannot market or import its pedicle screw kit on French territory and must destroy any remaining stock of them.
6. A preliminary injunction was issued in April against Aegis Spine to prevent the marketing and sale of its AccelFix-XT line of expandable cages, which a court determined were reverse engineered from Life Spine's ProLift expandable cage.
7. Roger Jackson, MD, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against NuVasive in January. The lawsuit alleges NuVasive is selling spinal screws that infringe on as many as eight of Dr. Jackson's patents. He is seeking cash compensation and a court order blocking "further unauthorized use" of his inventions.
8. Arthrodesis filed a patent infringement suit against Wright Medical in January. The case alleges Wright Medical's Valor Hindfoot Fusion System infringes on a patent granted to Rama Chandran, MD — owner of Arthrodesis — in 2003 related to a surgical rod-and-screw kit for ankle arthrodesis.