Boston Scientific Did Not Literally Infringe Patent In 13 Year Old Case

By Joseph Mandour on October 1, 2011

vein-200x150 Orange County – The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently affirmed that Boston Scientific did not commit literal patent infringement of coronary stents patent owned by Cordis Corp. Cordis Corp, currently a branch of Johnson and Johnson, initially brought the patent infringement action in 1998 alleging that Boston Scientific had infringed several patents relating to coronary stents.

The patents at issue involved extendable coronary stents used in the treatment of coronary heart disease. Coronary stents are essentially tubes placed in the arteries during coronary heart treatments to keep the arteries open. Coronary artery disease is the most common heart related condition in the United States and the national market for coronary stents totals approximately $4 billion annually.

On Wednesday September 28, the case finally came to a close as the Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court’s ruling that Boston Scientific did not literally infringe any of the patents involved in the case. Literal patent infringement occurs when someone other than the patent holder has used, made, or sold a device that replicates every single element of a patent claim.

In many cases of patent infringement, infringement is found through the doctrine of equivalents. The doctrine of equivalents applies when the infringing article is not identical to the patent in every element, but is the functional equivalent. In contrast, literal infringement requires every element of the patent claim to be present in the infringing article.

In this case, the Federal Circuit declined to reach a doctrine of equivalents analysis after finding that Boston Scientific did not literally infringe any of the Cordis patents. After more than a decade of litigation, including District Court Judge Robinson overturning her own ruling on the enforceability of the Cordis patents, the Federal Circuit’s ruling brings the case to a close.

Cordis Corp. has traditionally held a large portion of this market share as a branch of Johnson and Johnson. However, dwindling sales and the rise of competition is leading Johnson and Johnson to leave the stent business. Cordis Corp. will soon continue to sell medical products as its own entity.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement