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Burns & Hansen, P.A.

Boston Scientific sued for settling patent issues with St. Judes

A patent-licensing company has sued Boston Scientific Corp. over a reported secret settlement agreement Boston Scientific reached with Twin Cities-based St. Jude Medical Inc. According to a news report, the patent firm Mirowski Family Ventures - owned by the family of the man who invented the pacemaker - is accusing Boston Scientific of breaching a contract, and engaging in unjust enrichment and constructive fraud due to its deal with St. Jude.

The secret settlement was apparently reached in order to quietly put an end to six lawsuits involving St. Jude, an alleged patent infringer. Mirowski argues that by settling these disputes privately, the firm missed out on proceeds from the patent infringement - to the tune of about $570 million.

According to its lawsuit, Mirowski had a business contract in place with Boston Scientific that required it to confer with the company regarding any patent disputes.

The future of these claims remains to be seen, but the case is an example of the very high stakes of protecting a business's intellectual property and patents.

It is crucial for Minnesota companies to protect their business interests, and this sometimes results in contract disputes and other legal issues. In many cases, when pursuing legal action or facing the threat of legal action, the best course is to work with skilled attorneys to reach a mutually agreeable settlement quickly, and thus avoid costly litigation and negative publicity. However, in some cases, that may not be an appropriate option, and there may be other parties and factors to consider.

Source: Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, "Boston Scientific sued over 'secret settlement with St. Jude," Sept. 18, 2013

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