Medtronic Socked With $393M Verdict in Edwards Patent Fight

, The Litigation Daily

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Nick Groombridge of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Nick Groombridge of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison won a eye-popping $393 million verdict for Edwards LifeSciences Corp. on Wednesday in its global patent fight with Medtronic Inc.

A federal jury in Wilmington found that Medtronic's CoreValve system infringes a single Edwards patent relating to heart valve technology. Jurors found that the infringement was willful and awarded Edwards $388.8 million in lost profits and $4.8 million in reasonable royalties—pretty much exactly what Edwards asked for.

Paul Weiss' Nicholas Groombridge served as lead counsel for Edwards, handling openings, closings and three witness examinations. Paul Weiss partner Catherine Nyarady and ubiquitous Delaware patent litigator Jack Blumenfeld of Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell also handled witnesses for Edwards.

The verdict is a loss for a Robins, Kaplan, Miller, & Ciresi team led by Martin Lueck and Jan Conlin. The firm had been on an impressive hot streak lately, securing a $2.76 billion arbitration award for Kraft Foods Inc. and winning approval of a $5.7 billion settlement in an antitrust class action over credit card swipe fees. Medtronic is also represented by Edward Reines of Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Groombridge's former firm), who first filed an appearance in December.

Paul Weiss won a similar jury verdict for Edwards against Medtronic in 2010. By the time the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the verdict in November 2012, it had grown to $245 million. We named Nyarady and her now-retired partner John Nathan Litigators of the Week for the win.

Like his colleagues, Groombridge was able to woo jurors with a sympathetic tale involving his client's technology. The inventor of the Edwards patent at issue in Wednesday's verdict is a French cardiologist named Alain Cribier who helped pioneer life-saving heart valve technology. The medical device industry spurned Cribier's ideas for years, but he eventually gained a following and sold his start-up company, Percutaneous Valve Technologies Inc., to Edwards for $125 million in 2003. "It's a great story of one person's passion to solve a problem and treat a terrible disease," Groombridge told us.

Medtronic said in a statement that it will appeal. "Medtronic has prevailed against Edwards in several legal actions related to a European counterpart to this patent and others, and believes the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals will find no merit to Edwards's infringement claim," the company said.

 

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