The European Patent Office issued a preliminary, non-binding ruling that the Edwards patent at the center of a dispute in Germany is invalid, Medtronic said.
In July a German court ruled that Medtronic’s CoreValve TAVI infringes an Edwards Lifesciences patent, forcing it to cede the German market to Edwards and its Sapien valve. Now it appears that the EPO plans to undercut the Edwards patent, at least according to Medtronic.
"The preliminary opinion says the patent claims are not valid because of an invalid priority claim and because claims are impermissibly broader than the disclosure of the application. Additionally, the EPO does not think that the claims are novel," according to a Medtronic press release. "The decision will be finalized after oral proceedings, now scheduled for March 6 and 7, 2014, in The Hague. The decision is preliminary and non-binding."
An Edwards spokeswoman told MassDevice.com that the company plans to challenge the EPO’s preliminary ruling.
"We disagree with the EPO’s preliminary opinion and will challenge it," she wrote, citing the hearing slated for next March.
Back in 2010, Medtronic won a round in another German court in its battle with Edwards, after the Appellate Court of Düsseldorf upheld a lower court’s ruling that the CoreValve device does not infringe on the German Sapien patent.