Over the past year, AbbVie (ABBV) has settled patent lawsuits with a growing number of drug makers that will delay biosimilar versions of its Humira rheumatoid arthritis medicine from becoming available in the U.S. until 2023. But one company has so far refused to settle and the litigation is yielding purported details that shed light on AbbVie’s use of a so-called patent thicket to defend its franchise product.

Among the allegations is that AbbVie re-patented certain claims and processes for making the drug when, in fact, the approach was already in use, yet the company did not provide this information to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to court documents filed by Boehringer Ingelheim. In effect, re-patenting processes that were not actually invented became a purported vehicle for crowding out would-be rivals.

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