TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Stent Safety & Patents

The NYT has a piece today on the prolific patent litigation among stent manufacturers.  (Indeed, the longest trial I saw while clerking was a patent trial over stents.)  It leads with an interesting anecdote:

Why would a company argue in court that its medical product is dangerous, even as it plays down the risks in public?

Johnson & Johnson did just that recently as part of its long battle for supremacy in cardiac stents. Its lawyers told a federal judge in Delaware that because medical studies had linked the company’s drug-coated Cypher stent to blood clots, it could not have infringed a competitor’s patent.

How so? Because, the lawyers said, the patent in question, held by Boston Scientific, claimed that the coating did not cause clots.

That reasoning — in essence, our product isn’t covered by Boston Scientific’s patent because our product is a health hazard — did not impress Judge Sue L. Robinson, who last week affirmed a jury’s patent infringement verdict against the Cypher.


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