Bloomberg News

Abbott Wins Patent Ruling in Xience Stent Case Over J&J, Wyeth

January 24, 2012

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Abbott Laboratories and Medtronic Inc. won a federal court ruling that invalidated two patents for heart devices controlled by Johnson & Johnson’s Cordis unit and Wyeth.

U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano in Trenton, New Jersey, ruled Jan. 19 that the patents didn’t fulfill the requirement that they describe what the company claims to have invented, and so were invalid. Cordis and Wyeth had contended that Abbott’s Xience and Medtronic’s Endeavor stents were using the inventions without permission.

The ruling was part of a long-running battle over inventions related to stents, tiny mesh tubes used to prop open heart arteries after they’re cleared of fat. The drug coating limits the growth of scar tissue that could clog the arteries anew. J&J pioneered the market only to lose ground to competitors, and last year it said it would leave the global market altogether.

The two patents, issued in 1996, describe ways to use rapamycin or related medicines on the devices to treat the growth of the scar tissue. New York-based Wyeth owns the patents and licenses them to J&J, which is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Rapamycin, also known as sirolimus and sold by Wyeth as Rapamune, is used to coat J&J’s Cypher stent. Wyeth and J&J claimed Abbott, based in Abbott Park, Illinois, and Minneapolis- based Medtronic were using related drugs.

The case also targeted the Promus stent, which uses everolimus to prevent tissue growth. Abbott licenses the Promus stent to Natick, Massachusetts-based Boston Scientific Corp.

In 2010, Boston Scientific agreed to pay J&J $1.73 billion to end other patent lawsuits between the companies over stent technology.

The case is Wyeth v. Abbott Laboratories, 08cv230, and Wyeth v. Medtronic Inc., 08cv1021, both U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Trenton).

--Editors: Fred Strasser, Peter Blumberg

To contact the reporters on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net; David Voreacos in Newark, New Jersey at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net; Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net.


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