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Court won't block Medtronic heart valve launch

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 1:45pm
The Associated Press

A federal court in Delaware has denied Edwards Lifesciences Corp.'s request to block the manufacture of a heart valve from rival Medtronic Inc. which was found to infringe on a key technology patent.

While clearing the way for Medtronic's device, the court also affirmed an earlier penalty that requires the Minneapolis-based company to pay $73.5 million to Edwards. Medtronic said it would appeal this decision.

Last April, a jury found that Medtronic's CoreValve business willfully infringed on a patent for Edward's Sapien valve, a first-of-a-kind device that can be implanted through a catheter. The product is seen as an important option for patients too old or frail to undergo open-heart surgery.

Edwards filed suit against Medtronic in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

The CoreValve and Sapien valves have not been approved for sale in the U.S. but are on the market in other countries.

Irvine, Calif.-based Edwards pioneered the technology and is on target to gain FDA approval late this year. Medtronic's device entered U.S. testing last fall and is not expected to reach the market until late 2014 at the earliest.

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