Akin Gump Team Secures Jury Verdict in Antibody Patent Case
Abbott had alleged that Janssen’s groundbreaking drug Stelara®, used to treat the effects of the painful skin disease psoriasis, infringed claims of two Abbott patents. The Abbott patents claimed human antibodies that bind to a substance called interleukin-12, or IL-12, a naturally occurring protein that regulates the immune system. Overproduction of the substance triggers an overactive immune system response, which, in turn, causes excess skin cells that pile up and form disfiguring plaques. U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor had ruled in March 2012 that Stelara® infringed claims of the Abbott patents.
During a two-week jury trial in September 2012, the Akin Gump attorneys argued to the jury that if the patent claims were broad enough to encompass Stelara®, then they were invalid because the Abbott patents did not reflect that the Abbott inventors possessed such a broad invention and did not teach how to make such a broad scope of antibodies, and also because the claims were so broad as to be obvious. The jury returned a verdict for Janssen on all three of those invalidity defenses of written description, nonenablement and obviousness. Had the jury found in Abbott’s favor, the case would have proceeded to a damages phase, with Abbott seeking an award of hundreds of millions of dollars.