As a follow-up to our post from Friday regarding Medtronic’s IP lawsuits, we have uncovered additional information on the alleged patent infringement suits that Medtronic has apparently decided to file against 6 Orthopedic and Spine companies. Here is a quick recap of what we kn0w:
1- In April 2013 a new entity was created in Delaware called Orthophoenix, LLC
2- In April 2013 Medtronic transferred over 500 patents (all related to Kyphon) to Orthophoenix, LLC
3- During the first week of June, lawsuits were filed against 6 companies (Wright Medical, DFine, Osseon (x2), Globus/Soitiera, Ascendx Spine and Sintea Plustek).
4- The CEO of IP Nav is also the CEO of Orthophoenix, LLC.
Some new information that has been gathered is that Orthophoenix, LLC uses the same mailing address as another company called IP Nav (www.ipnav.com). The website for IP Nav lists the following in their “What We Do” section:
“IPNav’s integrated, end-to-end solution turns idle IP assets into revenue streams. Using its proprietary Patent Monetization Platform, IPNav unlocks the value trapped in our clients’ IP portfolios – with timetables and objectives set by the client.”
So it appears that Medtronic has hired a henchman. The details and opinions are still coming in but I think this story is beginning to take some shape. It has been rumored that Medtronic would take a more aggressive approach to figuring out some of the issues that were inherited by the new leadership team from the acquisition of Kyphon. Following the “re-organization” that changed the internal structure of the Spine Division of Medtronic, is this all a part of it? Or is there something much bigger to come?
Until now, it seemed as though the majority of Medtronic’s litigation against IP related to the multiple suits that were won (and still pending) against NuVasive. Did the taste of blood make the entire organization hungry to see what else was out there?
My question is what is the end game? So we know that Globus and Wright Medical have deep enough pockets to withstand this, but what about the others? What about DFine, Sintea Plustek, Osseon and Ascendx? Two of those companies aren’t even selling the product currently. This leads us to, quite possibly, the biggest question of all. Is this the beginning of a major IP showdown between Medtronic and the rest of the industry? If so, who is next? One thing is for sure, this isn’t going to go away lightly. We think this will be a story for many months to come.