Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) logged a major win for its Cordis stent-making arm today when a federal appeals court overturned a lower court decision to award more than $593 million to stent pioneer Dr. Bruce Saffran for patent infringement.
Saffran alleged that Cordis violated his patent with the Cypher drug-eluting stent, leading to a jury trial that went Saffran’s way.
A jury in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas awarded $482 million in damages to Saffran in early 2011 after finding that Cordis infringed one of his patents with its Cypher drug-eluting stent. Judge John Ward later tacked on another $111 million in pre-judgment interest, but ruled that the infringement was not willful – sparing Cordis the possibility of paying triple damages. Ward later denied a Cordis motion for a new trial.
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned the infringement ruling on the grounds that the lower court’s claim construction was wrong.
"In summary, we reverse the district court’s claim construction and construe the term ‘device,’ as used in the claims of the ’760 patent, to mean a continuous sheet and to exclude stents having open mesh holes. While the district court was clearly correct that the term ‘device’ must possess all the ‘limitations in the body of the claim,’ the term itself requires construction beyond those limitations," according to court documents. "Accordingly, Cordis is also entitled to a judgment of noninfringement because its accused products do not satisfy the properly construed ‘release means’ limitation."