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Flexuspine, Inc. v. Globus Medical, Inc.

District Court Not Obliged to Enter Judgment to Reflect Jury Verdict Contradicting Instructions

Flexuspine, Inc. v. Globus Medical, Inc., 2018 WL 473014 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 19, 2018) (PROST, Clevenger, Dyk) (E.D. Tex.: Gilstrap) (2 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir affirms denial of motions to amend judgment to include invalidity determination, and for JMOL of invalidity, and affirms summary judgment of noninfringement. Applying Fifth Circuit law, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Globus’s motion to amend the judgment. Although the jury had indicated on its verdict form that Flexuspine’s asserted claims were invalid, it had done so in contravention of the district court’s “stop instruction”—i.e., an instruction that if the jury found Flexuspine’s claims not infringed, it should not proceed to the validity issues. There was thus no error of law in the district court entering judgment only of noninfringement, and not invalidity. The opinion discusses a variety of Fifth Circuit law concerning interpretation of jury answers and the interaction with instructions.

The district court also did not err in denying Globus’s motion for JMOL of invalidity. The district court was within its discretion to dismiss Globus’s invalidity counterclaim rather than taking on the JMOL on the merits; the dismissal rendered the JMOL motion moot.

The district court also did not err in granting summary judgment of noninfringement for one Flexuspine patent. It was undisputed that Flexuspine had not submitted evidence showing that the accused product practiced one aspect of Flexuspine’s claim as construed.

KEYWORDS: JURY INSTRUCTIONS; JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW; RULE 59