The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to weigh in on a dispute between Boston Scientific Corp. and the Cordis unit of Johnson & Johnson, effectively allowing a pair of trial-court juries to determine damages in the companies’ long fight over stent designs.
The nation’s high court without comment Monday denied bids by the companies to review a March 31 ruling by a three-judge federal appeals panel that mostly upheld separate 2005 jury decisions that both companies had infringed on the other’s patents. The appeal judges also kicked back any decisions on damages to the trial courts.
With the cases now heading back to juries (PDF), Cordis and Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific already appear to be on markedly different paths with their respective strategies. Cordis, which successfully argued that BSC’s Express, Taxus Express and Liberté stents step on a pair of its patents issued in April 1988 and in April, 1999, seems willing to let its prior legal work speak for itself. Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific so far has been more aggressive, instead angling to have Cordis’ actions both before and after the original June 2005 verdict considered in determining possible damages.
In a Sept. 30 order separating the cases, the presiding judge gave BSC a partial victory on that score, allowing for limited discovery to support the company’s bid for ongoing royalties from sales of Cordis’ Cypher and BX Velocity stents found to infringe on a July, 1999, patent held by Boston Scientific.
Both companies, meanwhile, are bracing for big financial hits, with Boston Scientific earlier this year setting aside $237 million to pay possible damages after receiving the appeals court decision. Cordis has yet to make a similar move, but has repeatedly warned in recent quarterly reports that its rival will be seeking “substantial” compensation as result of its courtroom victory.
Separately, Cordis got some good news via the Supremes on Monday when the high court also declined to hear an appeal from a former male employee who sought to reopen a $1 billion workplace discrimination complaint based on federal law allowing women to sue for “equal pay for equal work.”