U.S. patent regulators in a decision Thursday thwarted Edwards Lifesciences' petition that certain Abbott intellectual property related to mitral valve repair devices is unpatentable.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied an Edwards’ petition filed last summer for an inter partes review, or trial proceeding.
The case is the latest salvo in a battle that has seen Abbott and Edwards take aim at patents for transcatheter mitral valve repair devices in courtrooms on both sides of the Atlantic.
The case ruled on this week by PTAB began last summer, when Edwards filed a petition calling for a review of aspects of a patent originally awarded to Evalve, the creator of now-blockbuster mitral repair device MitraClip that Abbott acquired for $410 million in 2009.
Edwards argued some of the claims covered by the intellectual property rights are unpatentable, pointing to earlier patents for mitral valve repair devices to make its case. But PTAB members were unconvinced; the denial rests on a belief that Abbott did more than simply make obvious changes to existing, patented technology.
“[Edwards] has failed to show a reasonable likelihood of success in establishing that any of the challenged claims would have been obvious over [the existing patents],” PTAB wrote in its ruling.
That position denies Edwards the chance to challenge the claims covered by Abbott’s patent in a trial. However, earlier rulings on mitral valve patent disputes between the two companies have failed to put an end to the disagreement.
Last year, a U.S. court denied Abbott’s request for a restraining order to stop Edwards from introducing its MitraClip rival, Pascal. A U.K. court also sided with Edwards, denying Abbott’s attempt to secure a preliminary injunction against its rival. The cases are part of a broader, ongoing dispute over patents covering Abbott’s MitraClip and Edwards’ Pascal.
Edwards’ Pascal is on the market in Europe but MitraClip currently has a monopoly in the U.S., enabling Abbott to achieve double-digit growth in what Cowen analysts think is a “multi-billion-dollar” market. Changes to Medicare coverage of transcatheter mitral valve repair devices could expand the addressable market.