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Judge Affirms Rulings Denying Medtronic, NuVasive Motions

By Jon Kamp Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES A federal court judge has denied Medtronic Inc.'s (MDT) effort to seek a permanent injunction against spinal-product competitor NuVasive Inc. (NUVA), plus other motions from the companies in a case that has raised concerns for NuVasive investors. The new order from Judge Michael M. Anello of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, made Thursday, affirmed a tentative ruling a day earlier denying a handful of motions from the companies. Last September a jury awarded Medtronic $101.2 million in damages after ruling NuVasive infringed three spinal-device patents. Concerns about an injunction, which can halt product sales, have pressured NuVasive shares in recent months, but Wednesday's preliminary ruling sent its shares up 19% on the day. NuVasive shares slipped 4.5% on Thursday and were down 2 cents to $15.59 in recent trading Friday. Piper Jaffray analyst Matt Miksic said that with the threat of the injunction reduced, "investors will likely be more comfortable focusing on fundamentals and once again considering new positions in NuVasive." The judge also denied some NuVasive motions, including a counterclaim for inequitable conduct. NuVasive in a regulatory filing said the remaining issues in this phase of the case are to determine ongoing royalty rates and lost profits, if any, it has to pay Medtronic for lost sales after the verdict. NuVasive expects the court will determine the timeline for these issues in late February or early March. Medtronic said it was pleased the court denied NuVasive's request to overturn the verdict and deny a request for a new trial. "We are considering an appeal with respect to the ruling around the permanent injunction," Medtronic said. Medtronic is the largest stand-alone medical-device maker and the biggest maker of devices and implants used in spinal surgery, while NuVasive is a smaller rival focused on spinal products. -By Jon Kamp, Dow Jones Newswires; 617-654-6728;

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