Abbott fights $1.67B Humira verdict in court

Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) doesn't want to pay that $1.67 billion patent verdict on its arthritis drug Humira. Can you blame it? The jury award in the Humira patent fight was the largest in U.S. history. The jury found that Abbott had used Johnson & Johnson-patented technology in developing Humira, Abbott's biggest-selling drug with $4.67 billion in sales for the first nine months of this year.

So, Abbott appeared in appeals court yesterday to fight that verdict, aiming to discredit the validity of J&J's patent. And even if the patent-infringement decision is confirmed, the company will fight the mammoth size of the jury award.

The Texas jury had figured that Abbott owed $504 million in patent royalties, plus $1.17 billion to compensate J&J for lost sales of its rival drugs. To that total, the trial judge added $175.6 million in interest. And a J&J lawyer thinks the math was perfectly valid. "The damage award was as large as it was because the infringing product, Humira, is as big as it is," Akin Gump's Dianne Elderkin tells Bloomberg.

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