'Stent' Over? Fed Circuit Resolves 14-Year Patent Lawsuit

By Robyn Hagan Cain on September 29, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It’s either a case of both parties winning, or both parties losing.

We’re feeling optimistic today, so we’ll say that everybody wins this week in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Wednesday, the Federal Circuit ruled that Boston Scientific did not “literally infringe” on a patent owned by Cordis, an interventional medical devices unit of Johnson & Johnson, but that Boston Scientific could not block the enforcement of Cordis’s two patents either.

The decision brings the patent infringement case, which the medical giants had litigated for 14 years, to an end.

This case centered around balloon-expandable stents, which created significant advancements in the treatment of coronary artery disease by providing an alternative to balloon angioplasty and bypass surgery.

In balloon angioplasty, an inflated balloon crushes built-up plaque against the arterial wall to improve blood flow. The balloon is withdrawn at the end of the procedure, which allows the artery to close again over time.

The balloon-expandable stent at issue in this case is mounted on an angioplasty balloon and is forced to expand against the arterial walls when the balloon is inflated. When the balloon is deflated and withdrawn, the stent retains its shape and remains in the artery to keep it open.

While Boston Scientific's stent was similar to Cordis's, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals found that the former did not "literally infringe" on Cordis's balloon-expandable stent patents.

This was not the first time Boston Scientific and Cordis met in court over stent claims this year. In May, Boston Scientific won more than $19 million from Cordis in a patent lawsuit over Cordis' small-vessel Cypher stent.

Boston Scientific has over $1.5 billion in stent sales annually.

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