23 Jan 2008   |   News

Innogenetics wins out in patent battle with Abbot

The US Appeals Court has upheld the finding that Abbott Laboratories infringed Innogenetics’ hepatitis C virus genotyping patent

Image courtesy innogenetics.

The US Appeals Court has upheld the finding that Abbott Laboratories infringed Innogenetics’ hepatitis C virus genotyping patent, and ordered the US pharma giant to pay damages of $10 million, saying Abbott’s counterclaim against the Belgian diagnostics company was “baseless”.

Innogenetics noted that the Federal Circuit “rejected a myriad of issues “raised by Abbott in its effort to overturn the previous the unanimous jury verdict in favour of the Belgian company. During the appeal, Abbott challenged many of the rulings made by both the district court and the jury. But the hearing confirmed that Abbott had infringed claims 1, 2 and 3 of Innogenetics’ HCV genotyping patent; dismissed all Abbott’s challenges to the validity of claims 2 and 3 of the patent; affirmed the jury’s damages award; affirmed the district’s finding that the patent is enforceable; and ordered Abbott to pay costs.

But the Federal Circuit did reverse the district court’s decision to summarily rule on the validity of one of the patent’s claims in light of one piece of prior art. It found instead that the district court should have allowed that question to be decided by a jury. But Innogenetics said that because two of the three claims found to be infringed are unaffected by this ruling, this will not affect the ruling that Abbott infringed the patent or that the pharma company pay damages.

“We are pleased that the infringement verdict and the jury’s determinations on validity were affirmed in all respects by the appellate court,” said Christiaan De Wilde, CEO of Innogenetics. “Importantly, we are pleased with the appellate court’s decision to leave the earlier damages determination intact and we look forward to taking, what we feel confident, are the final steps in securing Innogenetics’ victory.”

It has been a long a tortuous path to this conclusion. In September 2005, Innogenetics sued Abbott Laboratories alleging it was infringing its US patent No. 5,846,704, which covers a method of genotyping the Hepatitis C Virus. The court found the patent was infringed and 1September 2006, a jury returned a unanimous verdict that the patent was valid in all respects. On 8 September 2006, the same jury concluded Abbott’s actions had been wilful, and it to pay Innogenetics $7 million in damages related to the infringement up to the time of the trial.

On 4Januar, 2007, the judge dismissed Abbott’s requests for a new trial, and subsequently affirmed Innogenetics’ request for a permanent injunction against Abbott, banning it from any further sales, use or export of products, including components, that infringe the genotyping technology. On 15 January 2007, Abbott filed an appeal of the district court case with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Innogenetics filed a cross-appeal on 24January 2007. On 1October 2007, oral argument was held before a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, with the judgment delivered earlier this month.

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