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J&J Loses Bid to Overturn $482 Million Patent Verdict

Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest maker of health-care products, lost a bid to overturn a $482 million jury verdict for infringing a New Jersey doctor’s patent on devices to prop open heart arteries.

Interest of $111.4 million was also added in today’s ruling by U.S. District Judge T. John Ward in Marshall, Texas, bringing the total that J&J must pay Bruce Saffran to $593.4 million. Sandy Pound, a spokeswoman for J&J’s Cordis unit, said the company will appeal.

Saffran, a Princeton, New Jersey, radiologist, claimed his invention for treating damaged heart tissue is used in stents, mesh tubes inserted into arteries following angioplasty. J&J, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, had challenged the January verdict, arguing that the patent was invalid and not infringed, and that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support the damage award.

In a decision posted on the court’s website, Ward rejected those arguments. He did agree that there was no intentional infringement of the patent.

There haven’t been settlement talks with J&J, said Saffran’s lawyer, Paul Taskier of Dickstein Shapiro in Washington.

“We’re always willing to entertain an offer, but so far we haven’t heard a word,” Taskier said in a telephone interview. “We’re happy to proceed through the appeals process or to entertain an offer to settle.”

The $482 million award is the sixth-biggest patent verdict in U.S. history, just ahead of Saffran’s 2008 win against Boston Scientific Corp. over the same invention, according to Bloomberg data. Saffran in that case won $431.9 million, which increased to $501 million with interest. The case was later settled for about $50 million while it was on appeal.

The case is Saffran v. Johnson & Johnson, 07cv451, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

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