The Stent Wars
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) decision in Cordis Corp v. Boston Scientific Corp., 2011 (“Cordis”), is the latest episode in the ongoing Stent Wars, and provides an example of CAFC review of JMOL verdicts and review of the intent prong of inequitable conduct under the new standard in Therasense.
The Stent Wars involve four major players: Abbott Labs, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and Johnson & Johnson. These manufacturers have been engaged in bitter patent lawsuits against each other since the mid 1990s. A stent is a small tubular expanding scaffold that is inserted into a blocked artery during balloon angioplasty surgery. The stent expands with the balloon and then prevents the artery from collapsing after the surgery is complete. However, many question the medical efficacy of stents in relation to their high cost. The most recent development in the Stent Wars is that J&J’s stent-manufacturing subsidiary, Cordis, announced it will exit the stent market by the end of this year.
Cordis is the latest ruling in a 14 year lawsuit of Cordis Corp. (“Cordis”) against Boston Scientific Corp and Boston Scientific Scimed, Inc (“BSC”). In Cordis, the CAFC held that, first, the BSC NIR stent did not literally infringe claim 25 of the Cordis ‘370 patent, and, second, that the Cordis U.S. Patent No. 5,879,370 (‘370) was not unenforceable due to inequitable conduct.