J&J victory: Appeals court tosses $482M stent patent defeat

A federal appeals court threw out a radiologist's $482 million patent infringement victory against Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), validating the Cypher drug-eluting stents once produced by its Cordis subsidiary.

As Reuters reports, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the 2011 ruling from a Texas court that found J&J's Cordis division infringed on Bruce Saffran's patent, and also established the damage award. Saffran's victory against the giant corporation lasted about two years. A Cordis spokeswoman told Reuters that the company was pleased with the decision. Meanwhile, Saffran's lead attorney Paul Taskier is quoted as saying that his client is considering next steps.

At issue were three patents Saffran said he filed when he was a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, involving the coating of bare-metal stents with drugs that dissolved over time in the body. He went on to sue J&J/Cordis and Boston Scientific for patent infringement. In the Boston Scientific case, which involved that company's Taxus stents, both sides eventually settled for $50 million after a court in 2008 initially ordered Boston Scientific to fork over $431 million for patent infringement.

Boston Scientific ($BSX), however, won its own patent victory against J&J/Cordis involving Cypher and its own Promus stent products.

J&J's Cypher helped launch the multibillion-dollar stent business. But in the face of robust competition and declining sales, J&J ended its Cypher production in 2011.

- read the Reuters story

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