Tuesday, September 28, 2004

VERDICT IS IN - $109 MILLION: Medtronic Inc., the world's biggest maker of spinal implants, was ordered by a jury to pay $109 million to an inventor for violating contracts and infringing his patents.

The federal court jury in Memphis, Tennessee, said Medtronic failed to adequately credit Los Angeles spinal surgeon Dr. Gary K. Michelson for his inventions, violated some provisions of its contract with him, and shortchanged him on royalties. Still, the jury rejected Michelson's arguments that Medtronic purposely failed to develop some of his inventions.

Medtronic spokesman Bob Hanvik said the company was preparing a statement on the verdict. The company may have to pay additional money because the jury found that Michelson is entitled to punitive damages, which will be set in a separate proceeding.

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