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Applied Medical, Ethicon Endo-Surgery Settle Trocar Legal Dispute

Applied Medical has secured a settlement prohibiting a Johnson & Johnson company, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, from making certain advertising claims concerning trocar products.

Reportedly, in May 2009, Applied Medical has filed a lawsuit against Ethicon Endo-Surgery in the US District Court for the Central District of California.

The lawsuit charged that Ethicon Endo-Surgery engaged in false advertising of its Xcel bladeless trocar products, and used the false advertising claims to interfere with customers’ evaluations of Applied Medical’s trocars.

In March 2010, the court narrowed the scope of certain false advertising claims at issue based solely on the timing of their assertion, not their validity. As a result, Ethicon Endo-Surgery avoided defending the validity of the alleged false statements in court.

Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Ethicon Endo-Surgery agreed that it will not advertise or publicly claim in any way of the remaining claims concerning the attributes of certain of its Xcel trocars in comparison with Applied Medical’s bladeless trocars like Endopath Xcel Bladeless trocars require no fascial closure; Use of Endopath Xcel Bladeless trocars results in a reduction in port site herniation; Endopath Xcel Bladeless trocars create a smaller fascial defect size.

Ethicon Endo-Surgery also agreed that it will not advertise or publicly make any of the statements or representations regarding Applied Medical trocars like Applied Medical trocars cause skin necrosis at the puncture site; Applied Medical trocars cause increased patient complaints of port site pain or port site trauma; Applied Medical trocars cause an increased likelihood of injury to organs.

Gary Johnson, president of Surgical Group at Applied Medical, said: “Applied believes the lawsuit and settlement will enable clinicians to rely on peer-reviewed scientific research, and avoid the confusion generated by unsubstantiated advertising claims.”