U.S. Supreme Court turns down Medtronic appeal

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 7, 2013 - 9:06 PM

The suit dealing with repairing heart valves without surgery could cost the giant $245 million.

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday declined to hear a Medtronic appeal in a patent lawsuit that could cost the Fridley-based medical products giant as much as $245 million.

The high court’s decision left untouched a lower-court jury verdict in Medtronic’s legal battle with Edwards Lifesciences Corp. of Irvine, Calif., over medical devices that can repair the aortic valves of the heart without open-heart surgery.

The jury verdict against Medtronic called for $74 million, but Medtronic last November recorded a charge of $245 million to cover expected total costs of the lawsuit.

It wasn’t Medtronic’s first loss in the five-year lawsuit. The jury verdict was upheld last November by a federal appeals court, which said Medtronic infringed on a valid Edwards patent in the making of Medtronic’s CoreValve transcatheter aortic valve.

The original patent lawsuit dates back to 2008, when Edwards sued the CoreValve firm, which at the time was not owned by Medtronic.

In its filing with the Supreme Court, Medtronic argued that the 1995 Edwards heart valve patent was flawed because it didn’t contain enough information to re-create the CoreValve transcatheter aortic valve.

In addition to the lawsuit set aside by the U.S. Supreme Court, Medtronic has had similar patent trouble in Europe. In July it lost a German lawsuit filed by Edwards over the same patent, although that ruling affected only Medtronic sales of the CoreValve transcatheter aortic valve in Germany.

Medtronic said at the time that the German ruling would affect less than half a percent of its $16.4 billion in annual revenue in that country.

Medtronic is appealing the German court decision, and, in a separate action, has challenged the validity of the Edwards patent at the European Patent Office.

Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553

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