San Diego – A jury recently awarded Boston Scientific $19.5 million in a patent infringement case over a heart stent. The decision, handed down by the U.S. District Court in Delaware, ruled that Cordis Corp was indeed guilty of patent infringement and owes Boston Scientific $18.5 million for lost profits and $1 million in royalties for the infringement of its Jang patent. Boston Scientific manufactures coronary stents to repair clogged arteries.
Cordis, the stent-making subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, was sued by Boston Scientific in December 2009 after the launch of Cordis’ 2.25 mm Cypher Stent. On April 13, 2011, the Delaware Court ruled that Cordis had infringed on Boston Scientific’s Jang patent, which covers coronary stent technologies. Hank Kucheman, Boston Scientific executive vice president, said that the verdict is crucial in protecting the company’s market position in small-vessel drug-eluting stents against infringement.
This is not the first time the two companies have battled each other in court. In 2003, J&J made a claim that Boston Scientific’s Express, TAXUS Express, and Liberte stents infringed on its Palmaz and Gray patents. Another dispute between the two companies involved a complaint made by Boston Scientific alledging that J&J’s Cypher, BX Velocity, and Genesis stents infringed on its Jang patent. In 2005, the two matters went to trial and both companies were found guilty of infringing on each other’s patents. Those findings were upheld on appeal.
In a statement made by Ray Elliott, the president and CEO of Boston Scientific, he said, “In the past year, we have significantly reduced the volume of outstanding litigation, having now settled 17 lawsuits with Johnson & Johnson, as well as disputes with other competitors and the government.” In an emailed statement from Sandy Pound, a Cordis spokesperson, she said, “Cordis is considering what, if any, next steps it may take in the legal process.”
The battles between Boston Scientific and J&J aren’t surprising considering the highly competitive and very crowded patent field related to stents.