German court: Medtronic heart valve does not infringe on Edwards patent

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The Appellate Court of Düsseldorf in Germany has found that Medtronic’s CoreValve transcatheter aortic valve system does not infringe Edwards Lifesciences’ German Andersen patent for its transcatheter heart valve technology, set to expire in May 2011.

According to the Minneapolis-based Medtronic, the court’s decision upholds a lower court’s ruling in October 2008 and enables uninterrupted access of its transcatheter heart valve sales in Germany. However, the ruling has no effect on sales of Edwards’ Sapien transcatheter valve in Germany or any other country, according to the Irvine, Calif.-based Edwards.

"While we are disappointed by this decision on infringement, we will continue to rigorously enforce our leading intellectual property portfolio in this field. We look forward to the trial on the U.S. Andersen patents beginning next month," said Larry L. Wood, Edwards' corporate vice president, transcatheter valve replacement.

Court proceedings in the U.K. involving the U.K. counterpart to the German Andersen patent are scheduled to resume May 14 in London with an appeal from the trial court. Medtronic said that the U.K. trial court found in January 2009 that CoreValve devices do not infringe the Edwards’ U.K. Andersen patent. In the U.S., the U.S. District Court of Delaware is scheduled to begin a trial on March 23 involving related U.S. patents.