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Extremities Feature

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KFx Medical and Wright Medical Settle Bone Anchor Patent Lawsuit

Walter Eisner • Mon, April 16th, 2018

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After practically accusing KFx Medical Corp. of being a patent troll, Wright Medical Technology and KFx have set aside their patent litigation over rotator cuff repair patents and agreed to a licensing deal.

Wright Medical will have the right to promote the use of products and techniques for knotless double row rotator cuff repair for the life of U.S. Patent number 7,585,311 ('311 patent) and related patents held by KFx.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Wright sued KFx in April 2017 for declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,585,311; 8,100,942; and 8,109,969 in the District of Delaware. Wright alleged that KFx wrote Wright a letter accusing Wright’s PITON knotless suture anchor of infringing the ‘311 patent when used in double row surgical procedures. Wright also alleged that KFx subsequently accused the same product of infringing the ‘942 patent and the ‘969 patent. Wright sought declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity for all three patents.

KFx asserted that when a surgeon performs a double row procedure in which the surgeon uses a Wright knotless suture anchor, Wright infringes the patents.

Wright said KFx does not manufacture or sell any products embodying the patents. Instead, Wright claimed that KFx monetizes the patents through litigation and threats of litigation with third parties.

Prior Patent Suit

This isn't KFx's first go around in the courts over its '311 patent.

In a patent suit filed by KFx against Arthrex Incorporated in 2015, a federal jury in southern California found that Arthrex infringed KFx's '311 patent and two other patents. The jury, according to KFx, found the patents were valid and awarded KFx $29 million in damages. Arthrex appealed, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of KFx.

The District Court later awarded additional damages and interest to bring the total judgment to over $35 million. Arthrex asked for a rehearing but was denied. Arthrex then went to the U.S. Supreme Court with a writ of certiorari, but the Court denied the petition.

Tate Scott, president and CEO of KFx, said in a March 19, 2018 prepared statement that Wright will join with other license agreement holders, Smith & Nephew, Inc., Mitek of Johnson & Johnson, and ConMed for the same patents. "I am pleased with the licensing arrangement with these four world leaders and knowing KFx’s valuable double row knotless rotator cuff technology will reach even more patients.”

KFx is a private company headquartered in Solana Beach, California. The company was founded in 2003 to develop products for tissue fixation in orthopedic procedures on the shoulder, knee, foot, and ankle. The company owners include Alloy Ventures, Charter Life Sciences, Arboretum Ventures, Montreux Equity Partners, and MB Venture Partners.

To view the ‘311 patent, click here.

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