Medtronic Loses Appeal in $74 Million Edwards Patent Case

Medtronic Inc. (MDT) lost its bid to overturn a $74 million jury verdict won by Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (ED) and may face a court order halting production of some of its CoreValve heart valves.

Medtronic CoreValve infringed a valid Edwards patent, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said in an opinion posted on the court’s website today. The court said Edwards has the right to ask the trial judge to consider an injunction against U.S. manufacturing or sale of infringing products.

“While Medtronic respects the court’s ruling, we respectfully disagree with this conclusion and we are evaluating next steps,” the Minneapolis-based company said in a statement. Medtronic said the decision wouldn’t affect clinical studies on its products.

Edwards sued CoreValve, then a stand-alone company, in 2008 over an invention for valve replacements that are threaded into the body via catheters, without open-heart surgery. The patent was issued in 1995, and Edwards said it is seeking an extension of the life of the patent to 2017.

“We believe this is a decisive milestone toward final resolution of this matter, given that we have a clear jury verdict that has been affirmed by both the district court and now the U.S. court of appeals,” Edwards General Counsel Aimee S. Weisner said in a statement.

Aortic Valves

The companies’ devices, used to repair damaged aortic valves, compete for sales in Europe. Edwards sells devices in the U.S., where Medtronic is awaiting regulatory approval.

The U.S. market for the devices could reach $2.5 billion, Jason Mills, an analyst with Canaccord Adams Inc. in San Francisco, said in March.

A federal jury in April 2010 told CoreValve to compensate Irvine, California-based Edwards $72.6 million in lost profits, and pay $1.3 million as a royalty on CoreValve sales. Edwards said that further proceedings in court may require Medtronic “to pay substantial additional damages accumulated after the verdict was issued.”

U.S. District Judge Gregory Sleet in Wilmington, Delaware, declined to halt sales of CoreValve’s Generation 3 ReValving System because the company was moving production to Mexico. Edwards said that CoreValve never stopped its production in California. The Federal Circuit ordered the judge to review the issue.

“Due to its global manufacturing capabilities, Medtronic does not anticipate any interruption to the global supply of the Medtronic CoreValve System,” said Medtronic, which bought CoreValve in 2009.

The case is Edwards Lifesciences AG v. CoreValve Inc., 2011-1215 and 2011-1257, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Edwards Lifesciences v. CoreValve Inc., 08CV91, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patent, click: 5,411,552.

To contact the reporters on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net; Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at mcortez@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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