Edwards crushes Medtronic in appeals fight over heart valve patent

Edwards Lifesciences ($EW) crushed Medtronic ($MDT) in a hotly contested appeals court fight over heart valve patents. As Bloomberg reports, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is backing a $74 million lower-court jury verdict in 2010 that landed in Edwards' favor.

This could be ominous for Medtronic; the company's CoreValve was determined to violate Edwards' patent. CoreValve's future is now in doubt, because the new ruling gives Edwards the right to seek an injunction to stop any rival from producing or selling products that violate its patent. For now, Medtronic isn't backing down. In a statement, Medtronic said that while it "respects the court's ruling, we respectfully disagree with this conclusion and we are evaluating next steps."

Medtronic also said it would continue critical CoreValve clinical studies, and sales of the device internationally would continue. It also noted that Edwards' pursuit of a patent extension (to 2017) isn't yet a done deal. Medtronic bought CoreValve in 2009 for $700 million.

"While Edwards has applied for a patent extension, there is no assurance an extension will be issued or what the impact or duration of that extension would be," Medtronic noted. "These applications involve a review by two government agencies and the process can often take between 2 and 5 years."

Medtronic initially sued CoreValve in 2008 when it was an independent company regarding technology that enabled transcatheter aortic valve replacement. Edwards now has its Sapien transcatheter aortic heart valve, which gained initial PMA approval in the U.S. in 2011, and recently won expanded approval to reach a larger class of patients. And as Bloomberg notes, CoreValve competes with Edwards in Europe, but the product hasn't yet achieved approval in the U.S.

- read the legal opinion
- here's the Bloomberg story
- and Medtronic's full statement
- get Reuters' take

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