(AP) — A federal jury in Texas has ordered Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary to pay $482 million in damages to an inventor who claimed the health care giant infringed on his patent for a cardiac stent. Jurors hearing the case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas deliberated for two hours before returning the verdict against Johnson & Johnson and Cordis Corp. The dispute centered over Cordis' Cypher drug-eluting stents, which release a drug to help keep arteries from becoming blocked.
Dr. Bruce Saffran sued the two companies in 2007, claiming the Cypher stents infringed on his 1997 patent covering technology to deliver injury-healing medication inside the body. Jurors concluded that Saffran proved that the Cypher stents infringed on his patent and that Johnson & Johnson and Cordis did so willfully — opening the door for the court to potentially triple the amount of damages. Cordis officials said the company is "disappointed" with the jury's ruling.
"We will ask the judge to overturn this verdict and if unsuccessful, we plan to appeal the verdict," Cordis spokeswoman Sandra Pound said in a statement. In 2008, another federal jury in Marshall awarded Saffran a $431.9 million patent infringement judgment against Boston Scientific Corp. U.S. District Judge T. John Ward later raised the amount to $501 million. In 2009 the company agreed to pay $50 million to settle the dispute.