The U.S. International Trade Commission this week voted to launch an investigation into Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary Ethicon‘s complaint that Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG) is importing surgical stapler cartridges from Mexico that allegedly infringe a quintet of Ethicon patents.
In a complaint filed with the ITC May 30, Ethicon accused Intuitive’s EndoWrist and SureForm endocutters of infringing five of its patents and asked the trade commission to enact a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease & desist order for the Intuitive endocutters, reloads and components.
The ITC said July 1 that it would look into “certain reload cartridges for laparoscopic surgical staplers,” with its chief administrative law judge assigning the case to an administrative law judge for scheduling and an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ is then due to make an initial determination as to whether any violations occurred, which is then subject to review by the full commission before its final decision “at the earliest practicable time,” according to the ITC.
The ITC said it has 45 days from the start of the probe to set a target completion date.