When is the Same Not the Same?

Johnson & Johnson was greatly displeased in a recent patent dispute with Abbott Laboratories in connection with a J&J drug, Humira, developed to combat several afflictions including rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

J&J claimed that Abbott violated J&J’s patent when Abbott developed its own big-selling antibody. A lower court agreed, and awarded J&J $1.8 billion.

Abbott, however, appealed.  In throwing out the lower court’s verdict, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the two companies appeared to have used different developmental strategies, thereby producing essentially different antibodies.

Note that Abbott was on the winning side.  This hits very close to home — Barbara Luther has herself worked with Abbott on antibody tests.

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