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Jury orders J&J to pay $482M in patent lawsuit

Associated Press Modified: January 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm •  Published: January 28, 2011

MARSHALL, Texas (AP) — A federal jury in Texas on Friday ordered Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary to pay $482 million in damages to an inventor who claimed the health care giant infringed on his patent for a cardiac stent.

Jurors hearing the case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas deliberated for two hours before returning the verdict against Johnson & Johnson and Cordis Corp.

Heart stents are mesh-wire tubes that prop open coronary arteries after surgery to remove fatty plaque. The dispute centered over Cordis' Cypher drug-eluting stents, which release a drug to help keep arteries from becoming blocked.

Bruce Saffran, a doctor from Princeton, N.J., sued the two companies in 2007, claiming the Cypher stents infringed on his 1997 patent covering technology to deliver injury-healing medication inside the body. Jurors concluded that Saffran proved that the Cypher stents infringed on his patent and that Johnson & Johnson and Cordis did so willfully — opening the door for the court to potentially triple the amount of damages.

Cordis officials said the company is "disappointed" with the jury's ruling.

"The company believes this is contrary to both the law and the facts set forward in the case. We will ask the judge to overturn this verdict and if unsuccessful, we plan to appeal the verdict," Cordis spokeswoman Sandra Pound said in a statement.

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