Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) asked a federal judge in Delaware this week to reverse a $393 million loss to Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW) in their long-running patent infringement war over replacement heart valve technology.
Last month a jury tagged Medtronic with the $393 million verdict, deciding that Medtronic’s CoreValve device infringes a patent covering Edwards’ Sapien device. The medical device companies are battling over the market for the transcatheter aortic valve implants in the U.S. and Europe.
The Delaware jury decided that Medtronic’s infringement was willful, potentially tripling the damages award. Now Medtronic wants Judge Gregory Sleet of the U.S. District Court for Delaware to either overturn the verdict or grant a new trial, according to court documents.
"Given the massive verdict in this case, and the many important legal issues it raises, the court’s consideration of this motion for judgment as a matter of law is an especially important safeguard. As will be seen, the verdict is legally unsupported and should be reversed," the Fridley, Minn.-based medtech giant argued, according to the documents. "For starters, the jury did not follow the court’s instructions, rendering the verdict unsupported. Regarding lost profits, for example, the court instructed the jury that ‘Edwards may not be compensated for lost profits of any of their affiliates or subsidiaries.’ But the $393 million verdict is based on the profits of all Edwards’ affiliates and subsidiaries in defiance of that instruction.
"Put starkly, the jury awarded over $100 million in lost profits that this court instructed it not to award. Not only does this necessitate setting aside the verdict, it is a red flag warranting heightened scrutiny of the verdict overall," Medtronic claimed. "A fresh look with a complete record establishes that this sanction is not well-founded and, in all events, by allowing a massive verdict based on an erroneous and misguided reading of a patent, it is far too drastic for the perceived transgression."
Medtronic also disputed the willfulness finding, saying there’s no evidence to support the accusation that it deliberately set out to infringe the Edwards patent.
If Sleet declines to reverse the verdict, Medtronic wants him to declare a new trial, arguing that "the court made errors in both its instructions to the jury as well as in its exclusion of highly relevant evidence," according to the documents.