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Small Stent, Big Settlement

By Neetal Parekh on July 29, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Medtronic Will Pay Abbott Laboratories $400 Million in Heart Stent Settlement

After ten years of debate and legal jousting for patent rights on heart stents, medical device maker, Medtronic, will pay its rival Abbott Labs $400 million to settle all existing claims as well as to block off any future claims---at least for the next decade.  The bare metal and drug-eluting stents were created to prevent cardiac arrest by scaffolding arteries to keep them open for blood flow.

Abbott inherited the patents and their respective litigation when it acquired Guidant in 2006.  Medtronic and Abbot have since been chasing each other across the globe in the name of vascular stenting--with claims filed in California, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Japan.  The long-awaited settlement comes just one week before trial was set to begin in San Francisco federal district court in a case brought by Medtronic against Abbott.

Though this may be welcome news for the companies' executives and corporate counsel teams, all of the patent litigation has kept IP attorneys busy in this big money issue.  With a profit margin of up to 80%, an estimated $24 billion in stents have been sold in the U.S. over the past fifteen years.  And much of that staggering figure has been used in litigation.  With ink drying on the settlement terms, the companies hope that quelling the litigious storm surrounding vascular stents will mean more resources for R&D, business development, and healthcare integration.

In addition to the one-time $400 million payout to Abbot, Medtronic will also dole over $42 million to evYsio Medical Devices, a company whose stent design technology is subleased by Medtronic to Abbot.


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