A US Federal jury has asked Abbott Laboratories to pay a record $1.67 billion to Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in a patent infringement suit related to arthritis drug, the largest patent-infringement fine in the history of the US.
New Jersey-based J&J had filed a suit in US District Court in Texas in 2007, seeking $2.1 billion in lost profit and royalties as it claimed that Abbott's rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, was developed and co-owned by New York University and was exclusively licensed to Centocor, a division of J&J.
Abbott's Humira competes with J&J's older best-seller drug Remicade, which crossed $1 billion sales in J&J's first quarter.
Humira is Illinois-based Abbott's biggest selling drug with 2008 sales of $4.5 billion or 15 per cent of the company's revenues. Abbott has projected that Humira sales growth will be about 15 per cent to 20 per cent this year.
Kim Taylor, president of Centocor, said in a statement, "We are particularly gratified that the jury recognised our valuable intellectual property, finding our patent both valid and infringed.''
"We will continue to assert intellectual property rights for our immunology therapies, as they offer significant advances in treatment for patients with a number of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases," he added.