Federal court upholds $1.7 billion patent award to J&J's Centocor

NEW YORK A U.S. District judge has upheld a verdict against Abbott Labs that could require the drug maker to pay nearly $1.7 billion to Johnson & Johnson, according to published reports.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas upheld a $1.67 billion judgment last week against Abbott – the largest award ever given in a patent-infringement case – that a federal jury in Texas delivered in June regarding the drug Humira (adalimumab), used to treat inflammatory autoimmune disorders and Abbott’s top-selling drug, with $4.5 billion in global sales in 2008, according to Abbott financial data.

J&J had alleged that Abbott developed Humira using technology for which J&J co-owns a patent with New York University and that J&J had used to develop the competing drug Remicade (infliximab).

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