The Munich Higher Regional Court handed down its judgment in the entitlement litigation concerning one of the core European patent applications held by Neovasc for its "Tiara™" mitral heart valve implant design. On appeal, brought against the earlier finding of co-ownership by the Munich District Court, the entitlement claim brought by Edwards Lifescience unit CardiAQ against Neovasc has now been fully dismissed.
Throughout the litigation, Pinsent Masons Germany LLP represented Canada based Neovasc Inc - one of the global leaders in the development of minimally invasive transcatheter mitral heart valve replacement technologies. The team, led by partner Dr Michael Schneider, successfully defended Neovasc's sole right to the innovative "Tiara™" design and patent application which can now be re-filed with the European Patent Office by Neovasc. The Munich courts have Europe wide jurisdiction for ownership disputes concerning European patent applications.
Tiara is a self-expanding mitral bioprosthesis specifically designed to treat mitral valve regurgitation by replacing the diseased valve. Instead of conventional open-heart surgery, which is only appropriate for around half of MR patients, the Tiara is implanted in the heart using a minimally invasive transcatheter approach. Due to the fundamentally different anatomical conditions of that region of the human heart, transcatheter approaches are not currently commercially available for mitral valve replacement. Neovasc's Tiara valve is one of the most advanced designs in the regulatory approval process.
The Munich decision - which technically can still be made the subject of an application for further appeal by CardiAQ once the Higher Regial Court hands down its reasons for last week's decision - is part of a larger and bitterly fought battle between Neovasc and its former collaboration partner CardiAQ. Edwards acquired the former start-up during the course of the litigation. The parallel US case, which also concerned breach of trade secret allegations brought by CardiAQ, resulted in a final verdict of co-ownership rights. By contrast, the rejection of the claims brought by CardiAQ in relation to the parallel European patent application means that Neovasc is now free to pursue this application and has the sole right to commercialize the Tiara in Europe and help treat patients suffering from debilitating mitral valve disease.
Counsel for Neovasc
Dr. Michael Schneider (lead), Dr. Peter Koch, LL.M., Micheline Verwohlt