Court Reverses $482 Million Infringement Case Against J&J’s Cordis

Andrew Klips  |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday reversed a ruling from a Texas jury that found Cordis Corp, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson (JNJ), had infringed upon a stent patent owned by a radiologist Bruce Saffran. The original ruling, handed down in January 2011, ordered Cordis to pay $482 million, plus interest, for the patent infringement. The original claim was filed in October 2007.

Including the interest, Cordis (and, hence, J&J) would have been paying about $593.3 million.

Saffran’s patent, number 5,653,760, entitled “Method of Apparatus for Managing Macromolecular Distribution,” was designed for treatment of injured tissue, particularly severe bone fractures, in humans and animals and the direction of macromolecules to promote healing utilizing a permeable barrier.

Saffran’s patent also teaches that the mesh material used to hold bone fragments together can also be treated to deliver a drug or therapeutic agent to support healing. The patent also describes the use of the technology in for intravascular stents, tiny mesh tubes used to open arteries, in directional delivery of drugs through the porous healing sheet.

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Saffran argued in the case against Cordis that they were using his technology in their stents, sold under the name Cypher. The Cypher stents are coated with the drug sirolimus, which is gradually released to reduce plaque growth.

Cordis focused its argument on the configuration of its stent and how sirolimus is delivered to sway the Court back in their favor.

The federal Appeals Court cited a number of misinterpretations by the district court of the Cypher technology as compared to the Saffran patents, including claim limitations of the term “device” as a continuous sheet and “release means for release of an at least one treating material in a directional manner.”

“In summary, we reverse the district court’s claim construction and construe the term “device,” as used in the claims of the ’760 patent, to mean a continuous sheet and to exclude stents having open mesh holes,” said the Court of Appeals in its opinion today.

Shares of JNJ have seesawed around today, but have perked up modestly following news of the reversal, trading ahead by 22 cents at $82.29 with about one hour left in the trading day. Shares have been cruising northbound for the last year, up by more than 30 percent in the past 12 months, including 19 percent in 2013 alone.

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