Pfizer Sues Johnson & Johnson Unit Over Heat-Patch Patent

Pfizer Inc. (PFE), the world’s largest drugmaker, sued a unit of Johnson & Johnson, contending it infringes a U.S. patent for pain-relieving heat-patch technology.

Pfizer, based in New York, is seeking unspecified damages after a jury trial and a halt to sales of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based McNeil-PPC’s Precise-brand patch, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Delaware today.

“McNeil was aware of the patent” because its number “is clearly marked on the packaging of Thermacare, Pfizer’s competing heat-wrap product,” Pfizer lawyers allege.

Pfizer, with $67.4 billion in sales last year, also makes Lipitor for cholesterol control. Last month, Pfizer and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. (RBXY) were sued in an antitrust case in New York alleging the drugmakers engaged in an anti-competitive scheme to delay generic Lipitor into the market.

Seema Kumar, a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) spokeswoman, couldn’t immediately comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Pfizer v. McNeil-PPC, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patent, click: 5,918,590.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware, at pmilford@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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