Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary Cordis Corp. sued the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office this week, alleging that the agency denied key subpoenas that prevented it from defending its patents in a stent lawsuit against Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) and Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT).
Cordis claims the USPTO blocked the company’s attempts to subpoena Boston Scientific and Abbott when the duo challenged patents for its drug-eluting stent technology.
"The decisions have hindered Cordis’ ability to obtain and present evidence that is relevant to disputed factual issues," according to the lawsuit, in which Cordis says the USPTO’s decisions "have caused, and threaten to cause, injury to Cordis’ business or property for which Cordis has no adequate remedy at law."
Cordis accused Abbott’s Xience and Boston Scientific’s Promus DES of infringing on its patents. The duo fired back by requesting re-examinations of the Cordis patents by the patent office.
The USPTO provisionally decided in Boston Scientific’s favor on 1 stent patent in January 2011, on the grounds that Cordis had no knowledge of how Boston Scientific’s stents were made. Abbott filed for review of the 2nd Cordis patent later that year.
All 3 stent titans filed expert testimony on behalf of their claims, with Boston Scientific and Abbott calling Cordis’ information "legally insufficient" and "fatally flawed."
Cordis filed a request to subpoena Boston Scientific and Abbott for cross-examination, a request that was summarily denied by the USPTO.
"The PTO decisions are in excess of statutory authority and contrary to constitutional right to the extent that the decisions purport to allow a government employee lacking a constitutionally valid appointment to exercise significant authority under the laws of the U.S.," according to court documents.
This isn’t Cordis’ only battle with the patent office in recent months, even though it’s gotten out of the coronary stent game altogether.
The stent maker lost a case against the agency last September when a federal judge in Virginia ruled that the company filed its lawsuit too late.
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