CardiAQ Valve Technologies said today that the European Patent Office put a hold on former partner Neovasc‘s patent application covering replacement heart valve technology, after CardiAQ Valve sued Neovasc late last month in Germany.
The allegations leveled against Neovasc in Europe mirror charges brought by CardiAQ Valve in a separate lawsuit filed in the U.S. earlier in June, according to a press release.
CardiAQ Valve alleges that Neovasc stole trade secrets it went on to use in developing its Tiara transcatheter mitral valve implant, according to the U.S. lawsuit, which also alleges that Neovasc broke a non-disclosure agreement and falsified its patent application for the Tiara TMVI device. Neovasc approached CardiAQ Valve in June 2009 and offered to help it develop the TMVI device, according to the lawsuit. The companies signed a non-disclosure agreement and worked together on the replacement heart valve until February 2010, the lawsuit claims.
"Beginning in about mid-2009, Neovasc Inc. breached the NDA by, among other things, using CardiAQ’s confidential and proprietary technology in developing Neovasc Inc.’s Tiara product, by filing patent applications covering CardiAQ’s confidential and proprietary information, and by disclosing CardiAQ’s confidential and proprietary technology to Neovasc Tiara and to 3rd parties," according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts.
The lawsuit in Germany prompted the European Patent Office’s legal division to issue a temporary stay of further proceedings in Neovasc’s pending European patent application, according to a press release.
"We recognize that transcatheter mitral valve implantation has become 1 of the most competitive spaces in medical devices and will remain that way for years to come," CardiAQ Valve CEO Rob Michiels said in prepared remarks. "As pioneers in this new field, CardiAQ set the standard for TMVI positioning and anchoring and we will defend our intellectual property and trade secrets vigorously. Thus, CardiAQ had no choice but to also file a lawsuit in Germany and, pending the outcome of that lawsuit, seek a temporary stay of Neovasc’s pending European patent application."