A trial between Medtronic and Abbott Laboratories, two medical device companies, over heart stent patents was supposed to begin today in San Francisco federal court. That was until Medtronic agreed to pay a heart-stopping $400 million to settle — but that doesn’t mean the lawyers on both sides weren’t furiously preparing for trial, no doubt getting their heart rates up, all last week.
A team of Foley & Lardner lawyers, who represent Medtronic, had flown out from Milwaukee last Tuesday and set up a war room in their San Francisco office at 1 Maritime Plaza. Foley’s Rick Florsheim was heading the team as they did final witness prep, prepared for one last depo and sharpened their trial presentations. Keker & Van Nest’s Bob Van Nest was prepping to do openings for Medtronic, and the Keker and Foley lawyers scurried back and forth from each other’s nearby office.
Rug pulled out, after the jump.
Then, came the call that Medtronic and Abbott were getting close to a settlement of their various stent patent fights all over the country.
“We were just preparing for trial — we weren’t really involved in those discussions,” said Florsheim, who wouldn’t say exactly when that call came. “The initial call that they were talking and they had gotten that far down the pike was somewhat of a surprise.”
Then on Saturday, news came that Abbott and Medtronic had signed an agreement in which Medtronic would pay $400 million to bury the hatchet once and for all on the dispute over artery-opening heart stents. The settlement was announced today, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Florsheim, who makes his home in Milwaukee but is often out in our fine city for patent cases, said he couldn’t comment on the settlement, but noted that “There’s nothing like a trial date to focus the mind.”
Finnegan Henderson was representing Abbott. Rob McCauley, the lead Finnegan lawyer declined to comment.
— Zusha Elinson