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Alleged unfair competition comes to an end with settlement

Georgia readers may not be aware that Medtronic Inc. and Edwards Lifesciences Corp. have been locked in a dispute for several years over Medtronic's alleged use of Edwards' patented heart valve implants technology. Recently, allegations of unfair competition came to an end when the two companies were able to settle their differences. As such, the companies are dismissing their respective court filings against each other in accordance with the settlement.

In addition to dismissal of litigation, Medtronic will make one $750 million payment to Edwards. Thereafter and until April 2022, royalties will be paid to Edwards that represent a percentage of Medtronics' valve sales. This amount must be at least $40 million each year. The companies also agreed to a cross-licensing agreement.

Medtronics and Edwards are the two companies that have created a product for a certain process to replace damaged heart valves. This process is much less invasive than traditional open-heart surgery. It is supposed to be an ideal procedure for patients who are too weak to survive such an invasive procedure.

Edwards was the first company to patent the valves. When Medtronic came out with a similar product, Edwards filed suit. Edwards had obtained an injunction against Medtronic, but it was lifted while the matter was on appeal. Now, the injunction will go away in light of the companies' settlement.

A Georgia business does not have to tolerate unfair competition. That business can file suit against the offending company just as Edwards did against Medtronic. This is especially true if it is believed that the other company is guilty of trademark or patent infringement.

Source: Fox Business, "Medtronic Settles Heart Valve Patent Dispute With Edwards", , May 20, 2014

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