SCOTUS sides with Edwards in Medtronic patent feud

The Supreme Court ruled against Medtronic in a patent dispute over CoreValve.--Courtesy of Medtronic

The Supreme Court has rejected Medtronic's ($MDT) effort to overturn a heart valve patent loss, meaning Edwards Lifesciences ($EW) gets to keep its U.S. market dominance and an $83.6 million award.

Back in 2008, before Medtronic bought CoreValve for $700 million, Edwards sued the company on claims its flagship product infringed on patents tied to Sapien, Edwards' market-leading transcatheter aortic valve. After two years of slogging through federal courts, Edwards convinced a jury to award it $74 million, and, following an affirmation from the U.S. Court of Appeals, Medtronic paid up, with interest, in February.

Now, the Supreme Court has rebuffed Medtronic's claims that the Sapien patent didn't contain enough information to allow for reproduction, Bloomberg reports, sustaining the company's $83.6 million loss. Medtronic has reported $245 million in charges related to the CoreValve case, but the toll could be much worse if Edwards can keep the Minnesota giant away from the U.S. heart valve market.

CoreValve isn't yet FDA approved, so the latest ruling doesn't change Medtronic's short-term revenue, but it does give Edwards the right to seek an injunction on future sales, and the company is working to extend the Sapien patent into 2017.

And while Medtronic has launched the CE marked CoreValve in Europe, Edwards and its fleet of attorneys were waiting there, too. Over the summer, Edwards convinced a German court that Medtronic's device ripped off Sapien, winning an injunction on CoreValve sales in the continent's largest market for replacement valves.

Medtronic is appealing the German court's decision, all the while petitioning the European Patent Office in an effort to get the Sapien claim invalidated.

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