Loading... Please wait...

Harvard Law School | The Case Studies Logo

The Case of the Medical Stent

 Todd D. Rakoff  
Product number:
69 pages
Product Type:
Workshop-Based Case Study
Link to Faculty Author Page:
Educators / Non-Profits:
For-Profit Trainers:


This case is based on a real commercial arrangement between Medinol Ltd. and Boston Scientific Corp. that ultimately fell apart. The remains of the relationship were to some extent litigated and to some extent settled. The case materials begin with a delineation of the reasons the parties want to deal with each other (Part 1), move to the contracts they negotiated (Part 2), and then proceed to the problems they had when the arrangement went into operation (Part 3). The principal focus of the case is on the tension between the arrangement the parties negotiated and the relationship they actually lived. The contracts are framed as an attempt to specify what a good working relationship would be; the litigation is framed as evidence of a relationship gone sour perhaps (an important question of the case) because the contracts did not do the work they ought to have done. Thus, the final question to be asked is: Had they foreseen what was going to happen, what should the parties (or their lawyers) have done differently at the very beginning?

In contrast to much of the discussion in the Harvard Law School doctrinal course on contracts, this case tries to treat the process of contracting as a process of problemā€solving. As such, although the students represent one party, Boston Scientific, they are invited to adopt the point of view Louis Brandeis famously described as “lawyer for the situation.” The purely distributive sides of contracting are downplayed, partly because of time constraints, partly because they are more obvious to students. Thus, for example, the problem gives the students considerable contextual information from which to think about how to handle various risks to the joint production process, but little financial information from which to think about the proper split of the profits.

Table of Contents

This problem set consists of four parts:

  • Part 1-The Problem presents the problem and describes the issue, background, and setting
  • Part 2-The Contract gives students copies of the contracts between the two parties
  • Part 3-The Litigation includes a summary of what happened next and includes copies of public documents involving litigation between the two parties
  • Part 4-The Settlement includes a 2005 press release outlining the settlement between Medinol and Boston Scientific.

This product contains a zip file with all of the products listed above; each file is also available for separate download to meet your individual distribution needs.

Learning Objectives

  • Begin to develop a systematic approach to problem solving when faced with an unresolved issue or new situation.
  • Discuss relational contracts and how apparently transactional law can be adapted to relationships.
  • Identify appropriate contractual language, rules, and standards. For example, how clear should the contract be versus using general terms like "reasonable efforts."
  • Discuss the ethical issues involved in failure to disclose information to the other party in a contract. 
  • Discuss how to structure strategic partnerships and when certain types of arrangements (mergers vs. supply contracts, for example) are appropriate in various situations.

Subjects Covered

Strategic partnerships, contract law, negotiations, litigation


Geographic: United States, Massachusetts

Industry: Medical devices

Event Year Begin: 1995


To obtain accessible versions of our products for use by those with disabilities, please contact the HLS Case Studies Program at hlscasestudies@law.harvard.edu or +1-617-496-1316.

Educator Materials

Watermarked educator copies and a teacher's manual for this product are available free of charge to educators and staff at non-profit institutions. The teacher's manual is available free of charge to for-profit trainers. Please create an account or sign in with your credentials to gain access to these materials.

For more information about the Problem Solving Workshop at Harvard Law School, contact the Case Studies Program at hlscasestudies@law.harvard.edu or +1-617-496-1316.

Additional Information

Conversation Starters: Case Studies for Curricular Reform

The Problem Solving Workshop: A Video Introduction

Case Studies Greatest Hits

Copyright Information

Please note that each purchase of this product entitles the purchaser to one download and use.  If you need multiple copies, please purchase the number of copies you need. For more information, see Copying Your Case Study.


Registered User?

Sign in now

Not a User?

Create an account

Instructors can apply for Educator Access. Benefits include:
Benefits Include:

  • Educator Copies
  • Teaching Notes
  • Student Pricing

Contact us for more information.

Related case studies and educator materials