MISSOULA (AP) _ A Montana business did not steal a Kansas man's ideas for a bull castration device, a jury here has decided.

The jury unanimously agreed that St. Ignatius' Wadsworth Manufacturing Inc. did not violate patents obtained by Michael Callicrate of St. Francis, Kan.

The jury said, in a Wednesday ruling, that it found that some of Callicrate's patents were not valid.

``I think it was a great victory for some good people,'' said Bob Lukes, an attorney for Wadsworth Manufacturing.

Callicrate, who was seeking $2.7 million in damages, maintains a belief that parts of the Wadsworth device are just too much like his own patented product, said his attorney Mike Milodragovich.

Milodragovich said they may file an appeal on the 3 1/2-year-old case.

Since the late 1980s, the Wadsworth family has been making a clamplike tool that ranchers use to wrap tight bands around bulls' testicles. The EZE Bloodless Castrator is marketed as a less-painful way to castrate the animals.

The Wadsworths made improvements to their product over the years.

Callicrate started making his own device, the Smart Bander, in the early 1990s and has received numerous patents for changes and improvements to the device.

He claimed that some innovations included in the 1997 and 1999 models of the EZE infringed on his patents for the Smart Bander.

The jury ruled, however, that those patents were invalid because they were both ``obvious'' and ``anticipated'' _ meaning that the patented innovations were not unique.

Both sides have 10 days to file post-trial motions.