(Adds comment from Boston Scientific)
By Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ.N) Cordis unit won a round on Thursday in its battle with Boston Scientific Corp (BSX.N) over a stent patent as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in its favor.
The lawsuit is one of several pending between the two companies over the lucrative stents.
Boston Scientific had accused Cordis of infringing a patent for a coronary stent, a device that props open an artery. A jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware agreed in 2005. That court also denied Cordis’ motion for a new trial.
Cordis appealed the lower court ruling and won the latest skirmish in the patent dispute over the stent used in a blockage in the heart. The stent itself is metal but is coated with a polymer and a drug called Sirolimus, which prevents the body from rejecting the device.
“The (lower) court erred as a matter of law in failing to hold the ‘536 (stent) patent to have been obvious,” the appeals court said. “Obviousness” is grounds for stripping Boston Scientific of the patent.
“We reverse the judgment,” the appeals court said.
Boston Scientific declined to say immediately if it would appeal. “Boston Scientific said it is considering its options for challenging the decision,” the company said in a statement.
Any appeal would either be to the same court that ruled on Thursday or to the Supreme Court.
“Cordis is very pleased with this significant court decision,” the Johnson & Johnson unit said in a statement.
Stents are tiny mesh tubes used to prop open heart arteries that have been cleared of blockages and are important products for both companies.
Johnson & Johnson closed down 0.57 percent at $57.62 on Thursday, while Boston Scientific ended up 2.7 percent at $7.60. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Brian Moss, Leslie Gevirtz)