Supreme Court takes up Medtronic, Boston Scientific patent spat

The lengthy patent dispute between Medtronic ($MDT) and Boston Scientific ($BSX) will end in the nation's highest courtroom, as the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Medtronic's plea to avoid paying cardiac device royalties.

The suit stems from cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) device patents owned by Mirowski Family Ventures and licensed to Boston Scientific. Medtronic had its own license to the two patents when it launched a CRT device, but, in 2007, Mirowski Family Ventures claimed the company was developing new products using the intellectual property and thus owed more royalty payments.

Medtronic successfully sued to get out of paying, convincing a Delaware court that its new devices didn't infringe on the Mirowski patents. But, in September, the U.S. Court of Appeals tossed the earlier ruling, saying the lower court improperly placed the burden of proof on the defendants.

Medtronic mounted an appeal effort after the ruling, and now the company will make its case to the Supreme Court when the justices return to the bench in October, Reuters reports.

If Medtronic loses, it could be on the line for millions in unpaid royalties, plus potential damages and legal fees. The company said in a statement Monday that it's pleased the court has agreed to hear the petition, and Medtronic isn't commenting further.

- read the Reuters story