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Abbott Wins Ruling in Xience Stent Case Over J&J, Wyeth

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Abbott Laboratories and Medtronic Inc. won a federal court ruling that invalidated two patents for heart devices controlled by Johnson & Johnson’s Cordis unit and Wyeth.

U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano in Trenton, New Jersey, ruled Jan. 19 that the patents didn’t fulfill the requirement that they describe what the company claims to have invented. Cordis and Wyeth had contended that Abbott’s Xience and Medtronic’s Endeavor stents were using the inventions without permission.

The ruling was part of a long-running battle over inventions related to stents, tiny mesh tubes used to prop open heart arteries after they’re cleared of fat. The drug coating limits the growth of scar tissue that could re-clog the arteries. J&J pioneered the market only to lose ground to competitors, and last year said it would leave the global market altogether.

The two patents, issued in 1996, describe ways to use rapamycin or related medicines on the devices to treat the growth of scar tissue. New York-based Wyeth owns the patents and licenses them to J&J, which is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Cypher Stent

Rapamycin, also known as sirolimus and sold by Wyeth as Rapamune, is used to coat J&J’s Cypher stent. Wyeth and J&J claimed Abbott, based in Abbott Park, Illinois, and Minneapolis-based Medtronic were using related drugs.

The case also targeted the Promus stent, which uses everolimus to prevent tissue growth. Abbott licenses the Promus stent to Natick, Massachusetts-based Boston Scientific Corp.

In 2010, Boston Scientific agreed to pay J&J $1.73 billion to end other patent lawsuits between the companies over stent technology.

Adelle Infante, a spokeswoman for Abbott, said in an e-mailed statement that the company is pleased with the ruling.

The cases are Wyeth v. Abbott Laboratories, 08-00230, and Wyeth v. Medtronic Inc., 08-01021, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Trenton).

To contact the reporters on this story: David Voreacos in Newark, New Jersey at and; Susan Decker in Washington at;

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at and; Michael Shepard at

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