J&J's Blood Sugar Testing Patent Spat Turns Sour

Posted in Disposables by Qmed Staff on September 12, 2013

Johnson & Johnson’s ongoing patent spat with Decision Diagnostics may have taken a downward turn for the medical device giant. Decision Diagnostics manufactures a disposable glucose testing strip, dubbed Genstrip. Genstrip is designed for use with the J&J LifeScan Ultra glucose meter. Since the cost of disposable glucose testing strips can be very high, Genstrip has the potential to take a significant amount of market share from J&J’s higher-priced testing strips.

While J&J attempted to stop distribution of the Genstrip glucose testing strips through a patent lawsuit, Decision Diagnostics filed a counterclaim against J&J’s patent. In addition, Decision accused the company of false advertising. In its countersuit, Decision alleges that J&J stated that its strips are superior to those manufactured by other companies.

According to a four-judge panel at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Decision Diagnostics’ counterclaim may be valid. In a prepared statement, the panel noted that it “established a reasonable likelihood” that Decision would win.

Since larger companies have deeper pockets than small manufacturers, lawsuits often go in favor of the better-financed player. However, Decision Diagnostics has kept up its fight since September of 2011. While there was an initial injunction against Genstrip, Decision was able to win a stay that lifted the injunction.

As of now, J&J is still on top of the glucose monitoring market, commanding almost one-third of total market share. However, one analyst firm stated that "Genstrip has superior performance and pricing than the current generation of test strips on the market.” With a price tag approximately half that of J&J, Decision’s glucose testing strips could lead to some significant market shakeups.