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Court Voids J&J Patents in Boston Scientific Suit

From Associated Press (January 20, 2010)

NEW YORK--A district court on Wednesday voided four patents for a drug-coated stent made by Johnson & Johnson, which had sued rival Boston Scientific for infringement.

Johnson & Johnson's Cordis unit filed the suit in 2007, saying Boston Scientific's Promus stent violated patents on Cordis' Cypher stent.

But the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware found the patents were not valid, effectively ending the action. The case had been scheduled to go to trial Feb. 9.

Johnson & Johnson, based in New Brunswick, N.J., said the decision should not affect several other patent lawsuits related to Boston Scientific and Promus. The health care giant said it was disappointed with the ruling and expects to file an appeal.

Stents are mesh-wire tubes that are used to hold arteries open after they are surgically cleared of fatty plaque. Some stents, like Cypher and Promus, are coated with drugs to prevent scar tissue from blocking the artery after the procedure.

The companies have been in court over patents for the devices for years. In September, Boston Scientific agreed to pay Johnson & Johnson $716 million to settle 14 other patent infringement suits.

Shares of Boston Scientific, which is based in Natick, Mass., fell 8 cents to $9.40 in aftermarket trading. Shares of Johnson & Johnson lost a penny to $65.14.

Posted: January 2010