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Patent Setback for J&J

A U.S. District Court judge upheld a 2005 verdict from a jury that had found in favor of Boston Scientific (BSX) in a patent case against Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

Judge Sue Robinson issued a ruling denying J&J's motion to overturn the verdict. A Delaware jury determined last year that the Cypher stent, made by J&J's Cordis unit, infringed Boston's Ding patent. The jury also said the patent was valid.

The Ding patent covers claims for a two-layer drug coating on a stent, a wire-mesh tube used to prop open arteries that have been cleared of blockages.

Boston Scientific, a Massachusetts-based medical-device seller, will next have to contend with an appeal from Cordis.

The warring sides know each other well, and not just on the product competition and litigation fronts. Earlier this year, Boston Scientific outlasted New Jersey's J&J in a drawn-out bidding battle for Indianapolis-based defibrillator maker Guidant.

Judge Robinson's ruling was her third in the past six weeks regarding patent disputes between the two companies, J&J said. In the first decision, she agreed with a jury verdict from last year that Boston Scientific's Taxus stent and its Liberte and Express bare-metal stents infringed some Cordis' patents, one of which has now expired.

Another ruling saw the judge uphold the portion of a previous jury verdict that found the Cypher and the Cordis Bx Velocity stents infringed Boston Scientific's Jang patent. Cordis is appealing the judge's decisions on the Jang and Ding patents to a federal appeals court in Washington.

Shares of Boston Scientific were up 54 cents, or 2.8%, to $20.06. J&J was adding 8 cents at $61.55.

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