Philly-area doctor gets $482M settlement against J&J

    A federal jury has ordered Johnson &Johnson to pay a Philadelphia-area doctor $482 million for infringing on his patent for a heart stent. Bruce Saffran holds patents for a stent that releases drugs directly into the body. Saffran sued the health-care giant in 2007 for using his ideas in its Cypher stent, which releases drugs that prevent artery blockage. The jury in a Texas court ruled Friday that the infringement on his patent was “willful,” which means a judge could increase the award amount in the future. “It’s one thing when somebody doesn’t know that someone else has a patent on the invention,” said Paul Taskier, one of Saffran’s lawyers. “But here, Dr. Saffran had advised them 2001 that he had a patent on this technology and they not only refused to take a patent, they actually, according to his testimony, threatened to sue him in a declaratory judgment action if he didn’t desist from asserting his patent rights.” This is the second multimillion-dollar award for Saffran. He won a similar case against Boston Scientific in 2008; according to Taskier, a third case is set to be heard next year. Sandra Pound, a spokeswoman for Cordis Corporation, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary involved with the suit, said company officials are disappointed with the jury’s decision. “The company believes this is contrary to both the law and the facts set forward in the case,” Pound said. “We will ask the judge to overturn this verdict and, if unsuccessful, we plan to appeal the verdict.”

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