A federal judge this week sided with Cordis and fellow plaintiff Wyeth, now part of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), transfering a suit seeking to invalidate a patent co-owned by the two companies from the U.S. District Court for Minnesota to New Jersey. The suit was bought by Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) and Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) as part of their defense against a suit alleging the Xience V and Promus drug-eluting stents infringe on the Cypher stent made by Cordis.
The competing suits were triggered when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Patent No. 7,591,844 — "Medical devices, drug coatings and methods for maintaining the drug coating thereon" — to Wyeth and Cordis, a Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) unit, on Sept. 22, 2009. Coupled with previous patent claims, the companies argued that Abbott’s Xience V stent infringes on the new patent and sought to bar future Xience sales as well as trying to recoup any lost sales revenues.
Boston Scientific was pulled into the dispute because it sells the Xience V under its Promus private label.
In his order transfering the case, Judge Patrick Schiltz in Minneapolis oberved that all of the parties "raced each other to the courthouse" to make their case. Wyeth and Cordis won that race, electronically filing its complaint in New Jersey court during the small hours shortly after midnight on Sept. 22; Boston Scientific filed its suit in Minnesota later the same day.
But Schultz said his decision turned on the number of similar cases already pending in the Garden State, rather than who got where first. The judge also wrote that many potential witnesses in the case live in New Jersey, making it a "manifestly superior forum for this dispute."