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Edwards Lifesciences wins appeal in Medtronic patent fight

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Edwards Lifesciences LLC Corp won a round in a patent fight with Medtronic Inc's CoreValve unit on Tuesday as a federal appeals court upheld a $74 million lower court judgment involving infringement of patented heart valve technology.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said on Tuesday it was upholding a decision by a federal court in Delaware that Medtronic's device infringed a patent owned by Edwards. The court awarded $74 million in lost profits and royalties.

The device in question is an artificial heart valve that can be implanted without resorting to open heart surgery.

But the district court declined to issue an order banning sales of Medtronic's infringing product, and the appeals court sent the case back to the lower court to reconsider the denial of the injunction.

Medtronic said in a brief statement that it disagreed with the appeals court decision and was evaluating its next steps. Its product is not on the market in this country but is sold elsewhere.

Edwards said in a statement that it intended to demand additional damages in the Delaware court because of the finding that the infringement was willful. If infringement is found to be willful, a court may triple the damage award.

"We believe this is a decisive milestone toward final resolution of this matter, given that we have a clear jury verdict that has been affirmed by both the district court and now the U.S. court of appeals," said Aimee S. Weisner, Edwards' general counsel in a statement.

In early October, Edwards cut its revenue forecast for the third quarter, as sales of its unique heart valve that was expected to drive results fell short of estimates.

Edwards estimated total revenue of about $448 million for the quarter that ended September 30, down from its previous outlook of between $465 million to $485 million.

The case is at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It is Edwards Lifesciences AG v. Medtronic Corevalve, LLC, No. 2011-1215,-1257.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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