Boston Scientific has taken two big hits already this year, both in E.D. Texas; most recently, a jury ordered it to pay $250 million to its rival Medtronic, the third largest patent verdict this year, according to Bloomberg News. In February, it was ordered to pay an eye-popping $500 million to an inventor. (That would be #1.)
Those giant payouts for medical-device lawsuits have left blood in the water. Just two weeks after the $250 million verdict, patent-holding company Acacia Research has launched a lawsuit against Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and Johnson & Johnson, accusing the three companies of infringing patent no. 5,254,097, related to catheters. Acacia set up a Texas-based company, Cardio Access, LLC to pursue this lawsuit, filed two weeks ago. Cardio Access LLC v. Boston Scientific Corporation et al, 08-cv-231, E.D. Texas.
Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and Johnson & Johnson have been waging patent litigation battles around the country over various patents on stent and catheter technology. (So you can file this one under "living by the sword.")
This patent was originally held by a smaller medical company, New Jersey-based Datascope Corp., and was sold to Acacia in January, according to PTO records. Acacia typically uses a model of splitting licensing revenue with inventors, so Datascope likely has some skin in this game. (But to be clear, I don't know that.)
Datascope lost a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Johns Hopkins University and Arrow International, Inc. in June, which resulted in a injunction against a product it sells; then was hit with another suit in December, according to SEC records. So perhaps they'd like to be on the other end of one of these high-value suits. Two days after the Cardio Access lawsuit was filed, the company announced it's acquiring an Italian stent business that includes a patent portfolio.
UPDATE: In the original post I did not mention that Johnson & Johnson was also named as a defendant, along with its subsidiary Cordis. Post updated on 6/30.