J&J’s breast implant division, Mentor Worldwide, claimed that Sientra engaged in shady business practices, an accusation that the jury apparently disagreed with.
The product dispute began in 2012, when 15 Mentor employees left to join Sientra immediately after the smaller company won FDA approval to sell the 1st anatomically shaped breast implant on the market.
The biologically inspired "teardrop" shape is the new top-line breast implant technology, and Sientra won the FDA-approval race against Mentor and Allergan (NYSE:AGN), the other 2 players in the market. Mentor’s version won regulatory approval in June 2013.
Mentor sued Sientra and the 15 former employees in 13 U.S. jurisdictions, but has not yet won any of those pending suits, Sientra noted. The trial in Santa Barbara ran for more than 8 weeks before a verdict was found.
Sientra founder and CEO Hani Zeini called the lawsuit "baseless" and solely "intended to kill legitimate fair competition," according to a company statement.
"It is now my sincere hope that J&J/Mentor will do what should have been done in the first place; namely, compete fairly with us in the marketplace," he said in prepared remarks.