WilmerHale Achieves Record-Breaking Patent Ruling Reversal for Abbott Laboratories

WilmerHale Achieves Record-Breaking Patent Ruling Reversal for Abbott Laboratories

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A $1.67 billion patent-infringement verdict against Abbott Laboratories was overturned on February 23, 2011 by a federal appeals court. The judgment overturns a June 2009 ruling in favor of Johnson & Johnson related to patents on Abbott’s bestselling drug Humira®.

In 2007, Centocor, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, sued Abbott in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, contending that its patents covered human antibodies such as Humira. WilmerHale undertook the defense for Abbott and was successful in two separate arbitrations in establishing that a portion of Humira sales were free from suit. In the summer of 2009, the case proceeded to trial before a Texas jury with respect to the remaining Humira sales. After five trial days, however, the jury found for Centocor and awarded it $1.67 billion in damages, the largest verdict in patent history.

WilmerHale then appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. On February 23, almost four years after the firm was first retained, the court issued its opinion, agreeing with Abbott and ruling that Centocor's patent was invalid.

This victory is the result of the work of more than a dozen WilmerHale lawyers and staff on the trial, arbitration and appellate teams. Those individuals include Partners William Lee, William McElwain, Amy Wigmore and Jamie Wisz; Counsels Amanda Major and Thomas Saunders; Senior Associates Arthur Coviello, Anne McLaughlin, Jacob Oyloe, and Ali Shah; and Maria Vento and Jamaica Szeliga.