Thursday, September 29, 2005

J&J loses implant patent case

John Corbitt and Lori Leonetti developed an idea for an implant to mark where a woman had breast tissue removed for a biopsy, so that doctors could monitor the area for potential health problems. According to Corbitt and Leonetti, the pair secured a patent for the implant, and spent two years in the late 1990s talking with Johnson & Johnson about manufacturing or marketing it. Based on these dates, one infers they may have been talking after filing provisional applications.

J&J later bought California-based Artemis Medical Inc., which was selling a similar implant by another doctor whose patent wasn't valid because it was approved months after the one Corbitt and Leonetti obtained, said Jack Scarola, Corbitt and Leonetti's attorney.

A federal jury in Miami found on Sept. 28 J&J must agree to give surgeon John Corbitt and physician assistant Lori Leonetti 10 percent of an estimated $39 million in annual revenue from the implant if Johnson & Johnson wants to continue selling it.

[from Newsday, Sept. 29]

Of patents, there is US 6,214,045 to Corbitt and Leonetti, filed Oct. 9, 1998 and issued April 10, 2001, which claims priority to Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/061,588, filed Oct. 10, 1997, U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/077,639, filed Mar. 11, 1998, and U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/091,306, filed Jun. 30, 1998, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

The '045 patent has been cited in twelve US patents, two of which are to the inventors (6,638,308 and 6,681,226).

US 6,913,626 gives some background on implants:

Medically implantable prostheses, exemplified by breast implants, are well known in the art. Such implants generally comprise a formed body presenting a nonreactive, biocompatible outer surface to surrounding tissue following implantation. The implant is recognized as a foreign body by the host's immune system and is encapsulated, walling the implant off from the rest of the host's body. As the capsule ages, molecular rearrangement within the capsule change the overall shape of the capsule. If the implant is deformable, such as is the case with fluid-filled prostheses, the shape of the implant will change to conform to the shape of the surrounding capsule. In many patients hosting fluid-filled prostheses, such as patients receiving a breast implant, the capsule slowly undergoes "spherical contracture", palpably changing the shape and feel of the implant. Such spherical contracture is generally regarded as undesirable.


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