Edwards Lifesciences looses Spenser patent in EPO Opposition

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The Hague, March 6, 2014 – The European Patent Office (EPO) has invalidated and revoked Edwards Lifesciences’ entire Spenser patent EP2055266 concerning its market-leading Sapien transcatheter aortic heart valve, which has approval in the U.S., Europe and other countries. Amongst the opponents are giants like Medtronic and Boston Scientific. KIPA was attending the Oral proceedings in the Hague on March 6, 2014.

The opponents including Medtronic must be pleased with this decision, …

… see for instance the related Medtronic announcement. Medtronic, in its announcement of the EPO decision, noted the Spenser patent formed the basis for an August injunction stopping Medtronic from selling its CoreValve device in Germany. The EPO issued a preliminary opinion in October rebuffing Edwards’ claims regarding its Spenser patent, and the German appeals court in Karlsruhe officially lifted the sales injunction in November 2013.

EP2055266 is a divisional EP patent granted in 2012. The representatives of the patent proprietor, Bird & Bird, could not convince the Opposition Division that the claims of granted Spenser patent had basis in the parent application contrary to Art. 76(1) EPC, respectively the application as filed contrary to Art. 123(2) EPC. Some of the 18 auxiliary requests submitted were considered broader than the granted patent, contravening Art. 123(3) EPC.

However, the EPO ruling can be appealed by Edwards Lifesciences once the written decision is available from the EPO, which is expected in several months from now. Moreover, an opposition decision for the parent application, which is also opposed is still to be issued with Oral proceedeings expected for June 2014. In addition, several further divisional applications are pending.
The EPO file is available online at https://register.epo.org/application?number=EP08021823&lng=en&tab=doclist