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Medtronic Accuses Edwards of Infringing Heart Valve Patents

Medtronic Inc. sued Edwards Lifesciences Corp. in two U.S. lawsuits accusing the company of infringing patents on a heart valve system.

Edwards’s products, including the Embol-X Glide Protection System and the Perimount Mitral Valve, use patented technology without permission, Medtronic said in a lawsuit filed June 24 in federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota. Medtronic’s CoreValve unit also sued on June 27 in California, claiming the Sapien transcatheter valve made by Edwards infringes a separate patent.

Edwards, the world’s biggest maker of heart valves, reported a 25 percent jump in first-quarter sales in its heart-valve therapy unit, to $244.9 million. The Perimount valve is “the most prescribed tissue heart valve in the world,” Irvine, California-based Edwards said in its annual report.

Sapien, in which an aortic valve is threaded into the cardiac chamber to avoid chest-cracking surgery, is awaiting U.S. regulatory approval. An advisory panel with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to review the application on July 20.

If Sapien, as well as a competing product by CoreValve, are cleared for use in the U.S., they could generate sales of $2.4 billion and account for more than one in three aortic valve repairs by 2015, Larry Biegelsen, a Wells Fargo Securities analyst in New York, said in April. The products already have approval in Europe.

In both lawsuits, Minneapolis-based Medtronic, the world’s biggest maker of heart-rhythm devices, is seeking cash compensation for the unauthorized use of its technology, plus orders to prevent future infringement.

$73.9 Million Verdict

Edwards and Medtronic have sued each other in the U.K. and Germany as well as the U.S. over heart valve technology. Edwards won a $73.9 million verdict in Wilmington, Delaware, in 2010 that’s being appealed by Medtronic.

The Perimount case is Medtronic Inc. v. Edwards Lifesciences Corp., 11cv1650, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (St. Paul), and the Sapien case is Medtronic CoreValve LLC v. Edwards Lifesciences Corp., 11cv961, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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