A U.S. appeals court reversed a lower court ruling that required AbbVie (ABBV) and another company to disgorge $448 million in profits for filing “sham” patent litigation to keep generic versions of its blockbuster AndroGel treatment off of the market.

In reviewing an anti-trust case originally brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the appeals court determined that the district court judge who ordered the disgorgement lacked authority under federal law. As a result, the ruling called into question the ability of the agency to use the federal court system to seek disgorgements against drug makers and others.

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