Jan 15 A U.S. jury strengthened Edwards
Lifesciences Corp's efforts to protect sales of the
company's transcatheter heart valve implants, by ruling that a
competing product from Medtronic Inc infringes its
Medtronic will appeal the award of more than $390 million in
damages made by the jury in a federal court in Delaware and
oppose any request for an injunction, the company said on
Edwards said later in the day the ruling that Medtronic
willfully infringed its patent entitled it to seek increased
damages of up to three times the value of the award, in addition
to attorneys' fees.
It said it would move to enforce the verdict and seek a
permanent injunction against Medtronic's CoreValve heart valve
"This (type of prolonged dispute) is fairly uncommon,"
Morningstar analyst Debbie Wang said. Unlike the two rivals,
most companies would have opted to cross-license their patents
after such extended litigation, she said.
Wang said continuing the litigation could help Edwards
protect its monopoly in the U.S. transcatheter aortic valve
replacement market through 2016-2017, when some of its patents
Edwards will lose protection in December 2017 for its U.S.
Cribier transcatheter heart valve patent, which covers its most
important product line - the Sapien system.
The Sapien system allows surgeons to replace diseased heart
valves by threading the new valve into place through an artery
via a catheter, sparing patients chest cracking and open heart
Edwards reported transcatheter heart valves sales of $172
million for its third quarter ended Sept. 30.
In 2010, a jury in the same Delaware court awarded damages
to Edwards after it found that Medtronic infringed Edwards's
Andersen transcatheter heart valve patent.
That decision was upheld on appeal and Medtronic made an
initial payment of $84 million to Edwards last year. However,
additional damages are still pending, Edwards said.
Last July, a German court also ruled that CoreValve,
approved for sale in Europe, infringed Edwards's patent.
Medtronic said it expected U.S. approval for the CoreValve
implant system by the end of its fiscal year ending April 2014.
The U.S. market for transcatheter aortic valve replacements
is expected to reach $2 billion by 2016, BMO Capital Markets
analyst Joanne Wuensch told Reuters last February.
Shares of Irvine, California-based Edwards closed up about 2
percent at $71.89 on the New York Stock Exchange. Minneapolis,
Minnesota-based Medtronic's shares closed little changed at