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J&J Escapes $482 Million Jury Verdict Over Heart Devices

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive a $482 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson over disputed heart devices, rejecting an appeal by a doctor who said the company infringed his patent.

The justices today left intact a federal appeals court decision that overturned the verdict. The appeals court said the judge overseeing the trial misinterpreted Bruce Saffran’s patent and that, under the correct definition of key terms, J&J’s Cordis unit wasn’t using his invention.

The January 2011 jury award was the ninth-largest patent verdict in U.S. history, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. With more than $111 million in interest, the amount J&J was told to pay reached $593.4 million.

Saffran’s patent deals with ways to treat injured tissue with the use of a permeable barrier. He claimed the invention was incorporated into Cordis’s Cypher stents, tiny mesh tubes that prop open heart arteries after they are cleared of fat.

J&J, the company that pioneered the market for heart stents, exited the business in 2011. J&J is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The case is Saffran v. Johnson & Johnson, 13-405.

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