Stent Suit Settled

October 19th, 2009 | Sources: Wall Street Journal

Subjects: ,

Boston Scientific Corp. has agreed to cut a $716 million check to Johnson & Johnson to settle more than a dozen patent infringement lawsuits, including one in which a judge had already ruled in favor of J&J.

StentThe settlement wraps up all but 3 stent-related lawsuits involving the two companies. Stents are cage-like metal struts that prop open partially blocked arteries.

Stents are most frequently used in the coronary arteries, but they can be used in other arteries as well.

The market for cardiac stents now exceeds $4 billion. Boston Scientific leads the pack in this field, but J&J owns the original patents on the medical devices after acquiring them from Julio Palmaz, the radiologist who invented them.

Nine years ago, a judge ruled that a Boston Scientific stent known as the NIR infringed on one of J&J’s patents. Boston Scientific appealed, but announced last year that it expected to fork over more than $700 million to settle the claim. That includes interest dating from the original verdict.

Boston Scientific announced it will pay the settlement from cash holdings, which amounted to $1.2 billion as of last June.

The market for stents has leveled off in recent years after studies showed they weren’t that effective in many instances, and other studies raised concerns about bleeding from the anti-platelet therapy that is normally prescribed after stents are placed.

The J&J settlement comes shortly after Boston Scientific settled separate stent-related claims with Medtronic. For its part, Medtronic recently paid $400 million to Abbott Laboratories to settle a patent infringement case regarding…you guessed it, stents.


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