Johnson & Johnson is a leader in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. The company manufactures and sells one of the most popular products among diabetes patients called the Lifescan Ultra, which is a device use for glucose monitoring in diabetes patients.
Johnson & Johnson also makes the strips patients must use in this device to check and monitor their blood glucose levels to manage their condition. To protect their product, the company filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Decision Diagnostics for making an alternative glucose testing strip that was designed to be used with Johnson & Johnson’s Lifescan Ultra meters. They also filed an injunction to stop the company from selling their strips, called Genstrip.
Decision Diagnostics filed motions challenging the company’s patent claims, and said that Johnson & Johnson only filed the lawsuit because the Genstrip product could impact their diabetic glucose meter strip sales. Decision Diagnostics won a stay to lift the injunction against selling Genstrips but the final decision will depend on the appeal ruling by the trial judge. However, if the company wins the appeal, it could have a significant impact on Johnson & Johnson’s patent infringement lawsuit as well.
More recently, Decision Diagnostics filed a counterclaim against Johnson & Johnson, saying that the company used misleading advertising to tell consumers that their test strips were more accurate than Genstrip and other competitors.
The outcome of the patent infringement lawsuit could signal a change in who can sell diabetes testing supplies, including blood glucose test strips. Diabetes testing supplies are very profitable in the U.S. and worldwide, and it is estimated that over three million diabetics use Johnson & Johnson’s Ultra meters and testing strips so if another company is able to sell them on the market, Johnson & Johnson may see a dip in profits.
Source: Forbes, “J&J Seeks Court Aid To Protect Its Glucose Monitoring Test,” Gene Marcial, Sept. 11, 2013