In a significant victory for AbbVie, a U.S. appeals court panel declined to revive a lawsuit that accused the company of using a so-called patent thicket to forestall competition for its Humira medication, a franchise product that generates billions of dollars in sales each year.
The opinion shot down arguments by unions, insurers, and the city of Baltimore, which alleged that AbbVie “abused the patent system” and “erected significant barriers to entry to block biosimilar competition” by filing dozens of patents for the drug. Some of the 132 U.S. patents that the company holds on its medicine extend to 2034, although the basic patent expired in 2016.
The case has been closely tracked over concerns that the use of numerous patents — some of which may offer only marginal improvements or changes to a medicine — are exploited by pharmaceutical companies to protect monopolies at the expense of consumers. This has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to jointly examine the issue.
Create a display name to comment
This name will appear with your comment