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Court overturns patent decision against Johnson & Johnson

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WASHINGTON — A US appeals­ court ruled that a Johnson & Johnson heart stent does not infringe on a patent held by a doctor and an inventor, overturning a $482 million verdict against the company. The three-judge panel said a lower court misinterpreted the company’s patent and should not have ruled in favor of Dr. Bruce Saffran­ of Princeton, N.J.

Heart stents are mesh-wire tubes that prop open arteries affected by coronary artery disease. The dispute centered on drug-eluting stents, which release a drug to help keep arteries­ from clogging.

Saffran sued J&J in 2007, alleging its Cypher stents infringed on his 1997 patent covering technology to deliver medication inside the body. A Texas jury ruled in Saffran’s favor in 2011, concluding that J&J had willfully infringed on his patent.