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U.S. court orders new trial for damages in Medtronic patent case

By Andrew Chung

March 2 (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Monday ruled that a federal jury had erred in 2011 when it awarded medical technology company Medtronic Plc $101.2 million in a patent infringement case, and ordered a new trial to determine damages.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the top U.S. patent appeals court, upheld the jury's finding that NuVasive Inc's spinal surgery devices had infringed Medtronic's spinal implant and surgical method patents.

The three-judge appeals court said Medtronic unit Warsaw Orthopedic Inc was not entitled to recover damages in the form of lost profits and ongoing royalties, even if the jury in the federal trial in San Diego appeared to say it was.

"Our rejection of Warsaw's claims for lost profits does not mean that Warsaw is precluded from any recovery. Warsaw is entitled to a reasonable royalty sufficient to compensate it for the value of what was taken from it - the value of the patented technology," the appeals panel said.

The jury in 2011 found that San Diego-based NuVasive had infringed three patents, but the appeal involved only two of them.

The appeals court sent the case back to the San Diego court for a new trial on the damages figure.

Representatives of Minneapolis-based Medtronic and NuVasive could not immediately be reached for comment.

In January, Medtronic completed its acquisition of Covidien Plc. Its executive offices are now based in Dublin, Ireland.

The case is Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc et al v. NuVasive, Inc, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 13-1576.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Paul Simao)