Edwards heralds German injunction halting sales of Medtronic heart valve

A month after Edwards Lifesciences ($EW) defeated Medtronic ($MDT) in a nasty heart valve patent fight, a sales injunction against the losing party is now in effect in Germany. The victor announced the news, though the company says it will allow for exceptions in the interest of patient health.

In July, the German District Court of Mannheim ruled in favor of Irvine, CA-based Edwards and its Sapien implant, concluding that Medtronic violated Edwards' Spenser patent with its CoreValve transcatheter aortic heart valve replacement (TAVR). The court issued an injunction blocking CoreValve and CoreValve Evolut systems in Germany and ordered a recall. Edwards says that process has now begun.

The same court ruled in favor of Medtronic over the Cribier patent in another court case earlier this year, as part of the ongoing battle between the two companies.

Medtronic hasn't given up by any means. The Minnesota device giant is appealing the decision. The company is also trying to get the Spenser patent invalidated through a petition to the European Patent Office. Also, Medtronic has downplayed the effect of the court decision, noting previously that German CoreValve sales accounted for a tiny portion of the company's overall revenue last year.

At the same time, Edwards said it will allow for exceptions to make sure patients get the care they need. The company says it wants to ensure that German physicians can access TAVR valves they need where the Edwards Sapien XT valve isn't indicated, "subject to Medtronic's cooperation." Edwards said it won't seek compensation for these situations, which it has termed "compassionate cases"--about 40 each month. 

But Edwards is also working hard to build momentum for its own product in the wake of the court decision. The company said it has reached out to German centers that haven't dealt with Sapien XT (the latest model) with offers of training and proctoring.

- read the Edwards release