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Medical device maker Guidant Corp. announced Thursday that an arbitration panel found that one of its stent products infringed on Cordis Corp. patents. Guidant said it will likely request a review of the panel’s decision, but if the decision is upheld it will have to pay the Miami-based unit of Johnson & Johnson $425 million in the fourth quarter of this year. A final decision is expected by August, with any payment due within 90 days of that time. Indianapolis-based Guidant said it expects to accrue the amount of the award in the second quarter. Guidant share were down 27 cents to at $42.61 at midday Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1997, Johnson & Johnson filed a patent infringement lawsuit over Guidant’s Multi-Link Duet stent. Stents are metal-mesh tubes inserted into surgically cleared arteries to hold them open. But in 2000, the companies decided to arbitrate their dispute and also entered into a cross-license agreement involving the patents at issue. Guidant said future stent sales won’t be affected because of that licensing agreement. Guidant, which was spun off from Eli Lilly & Co. in 1994, has for five years been the market leader for bare-metal stents and holds 42 percent of the U.S. market. In April, Johnson & Johnson became the first company to win U.S. approval for a stent coated with drugs that are released slowly to prevent scar tissue from forming new artery blockages. Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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