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Johnson & Johnson violated a patent for an implant used in breast cancer detection that was held by two Florida breast cancer specialists, according to a federal jury who ordered the company to pay the pair $2 million. The New Jersey-based company must also agree to give Atlantis 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, the jury said Wednesday in its verdict. Rhonda Luniak, a spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc., said the company does not believe its products infringed on the patent and is considering whether to appeal. “Most importantly from our perspective is our products will continue to be available,” she said. Corbitt and Leonetti developed their idea for the implant to mark where a woman had breast tissue removed for a biopsy, so that doctors could monitor the area for potential health problems, they said. 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, they said. The company 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. Johnson & Johnson continued marketing the implant even though the company knew Corbitt and Leonetti held the valid patent, Scarola said. “I’m feeling very vindicated,” Leonetti said. “It makes me feel great inside just to know that a jury found that what they did was wrong and they’re going to have to pay for it.” Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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