The Supreme Court has issued a GVR order in Medtronic v. NuVasive and ordered the Federal Circuit to consider how Commil impacts the case.
The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for further consideration in light of Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., 575 U. S. ___ (2015).
In its petition, Medtronic had directly requested for the Supreme Court to issue this GVR – Grant-Vacate-and-Remand order.
The primary holding of Commil is that belief-of-patent-invalidity is not a defense to allegations of inducement. Relevant for Medtronic, the Supreme Court also indicated in Commil that inducement requires proof that the accused inducer knew that the actions being induced constituted patent infringement. Those statements from the Supreme Court have been seen as clearing up some uncertainty following Global-Tech.
Although Medtronic did know of the patent at issue, the patentee apparently did not prove that the defendant “knew surgeons using its [accused] NIM-Eclipse medical device during spinal surgery would infringe NuVasive’s patent.” Rather, Medtronic argues that it “reasonably believed using its NIM-Eclipse device during surgery did not infringe under a proper reading of the patent claims.”
The case will likely serve as a bellwether indication of how the Federal Circuit will work through the mens-rea requirements for inducement post Commil and Global Tech.