Patent Law

Stents Help Patients’ Hearts, Lawyers’ Bottom Line

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Coronary artery stents are big business—not only for the companies that make them but also for lawyers.

Litigation over patent rights may be hindering development of new products and forcing small companies to sell out to bigger competitors, experts told the New York Times.

“The stent business is an unusually litigious field, with court cases in this country and abroad embroiling all the industry’s major players and many smaller ones,” the Times writes.

The newspaper highlights one of the more unusual legal arguments, made by lawyers for Johnson & Johnson defending its cardiac stent in a patent infringement case.

Lawyers said the Cypher stent could not have infringed a competitor’s patent because its coating caused blood clots, unlike the patented coating.

The argument didn’t work. Judge Sue Robinson of Wilmington, Del., affirmed a patent infringement verdict last week.

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