The Federal Circuit wiped out the largest patent verdict in U.S. history in a case involving Abbott Lab’s Humira arthritis drug. (To see the case, click here.) A jury in the Eastern District of Texas had found Abbott infringed a patent held by Centocor Ortho Biotech, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The Federal Circuit found the patent invalid for failure to satisfy the written description requirement, thereby eliminating the $1.67B verdict—which consisted of $1.17B in lost profits and a $504M reasonable royalty. Another $176M in interest was later tacked on.
The huge verdict had supplanted a $1.52B verdict against Microsoft in the Lucent litigation. Unlike the Abbott Labs case, the Microsoft verdict was overturned by the district judge (Judge Rudy Brewster of the Southern District of California) on post-trial motions. The Federal Circuit affirmed Judge Brewster’s rulings. Here, in contrast, the verdict was still intact when it reached the Federal Circuit, and the Federal Circuit found that trial judge erred in failing to find the patent invalid.
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