Edwards' last laugh: Medtronic pays $83.6M in heart valve patent suit

Medtronic ($MDT) will fork over $83.6 million to Edwards Lifesciences ($EW) to settle a 2010 jury verdict it lost in a battle over heart valve patents.

Edwards disclosed in a Feb. 28 regulatory filing that it received the payment--covering the $74 million verdict plus any accrued interest.

In November, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit backed the 2010 lower-court jury verdict in Edwards' favor, determining that Medtronic's CoreValve violated Edwards' patent for its transcatheter aortic valve replacement (specifically, Sapien). Medtronic said at the time it would evaluate "next steps," which apparently have come to paying up and getting past the suit as efficiently as possible.

But Medtronic could find itself paying much more. As Edwards noted in its regulatory filing, the cash payment it received follows a Feb. 2013 decision by the Court of Appeals to issue a mandate rendering the initial judgment enforceable. Beyond the initial payment, that new mandate also gives U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware the power to assess additional damages from after the April 2010 jury award, and it gives the court the power to reconsider Edwards' request for a permanent injunction.

What that means for CoreValve now becomes an open question. In the short term, Medtronic said it would continue CoreValve clinical studies and continue selling it internationally (it's not yet approved in the U.S.). Medtronic snatched up CoreValve in 2008 for $700 million. 

Edwards' Sapien transcatheter aortic heart valve gained initial PMA approval in the U.S. in 2011, and recently won expanded FDA approval to reach a larger class of patients.

- read Edwards' regulatory filing

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