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NL – Edwards Lifesciences v. Angiocare and Meril

30 Aug 2023

Edwards Lifesciences Corporation v. Angiocare B.V., Meril GmbH, Meril Life Sciences PVT Ltd. District Court The Hague, The Netherlands, 26 July 2023, Case No. ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2023:11325

Edwards’ EP 3 494 930 B1 relating to a “Leaflet attachment frame for a prosthetic valve” is found to be partially invalid and therefore not infringed. The Dutch part of EP ‘930 is partially invalidated (counterclaim).

“Meril et al based its novelty attack against claim 1 of the patent on Lobbi, a US patent application (see 2.15). Edwards disputes that Lobbi encompasses sub-characteristics 1.2.7 and 1.2.8. directly and unambiguously. In order to assess this, it is first necessary to determine how those sub-characteristics of the patent will be understood by the skilled person. There is a difference of opinion between the parties, in particular about the significance of the vertical orientation of the struts according to sub-characteristic 1.2.7.

“The foregoing means that the court is of the opinion that there is no ground in the patent for the skilled person to interpret sub-characteristic 1.2.7 in such a way that there must be (strictly) vertical (in the sense of parallel to the longitudinal axis of the heart valve) and parallel struts. The fact that only (partly) parallel struts are shown in the figures is insufficient for this. The figures are for illustrative purposes. If it is not described that (and why) that specific design is essential, the skilled person will not read that in the figures. In that sense, the figures illustrate no more than that within a few struts the struts are spaced apart ‘so as to define an opening therebetween’, so that two adjacent (parts of) leaflets can be inserted through that opening together with cloth portions ( ‘inserting a pair of adjacent leaflets through the opening of each pair of vertical struts’), together with the cloth portions can be wrapped around those struts and thus are indirectly attached to the frame by means of those cloth portions, without being directly attached (with sutures) to the struts (sub-characteristic 1.2.8).”

The judgment (in Dutch) can be read here.