Biotech firm wins USD 7m damages in US

15th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

15 September 2006, BRUSSELS — A federal jury in the US has awarded tiny Belgian biotechnology company Innogenetics NV USD 7 million in damages after determining that US-based Abbott Laboratories infringed on one of its key patents.

15 September 2006

BRUSSELS — A federal jury in the US has awarded tiny Belgian biotechnology company Innogenetics NV USD 7 million in damages after determining that US-based Abbott Laboratories infringed on one of its key patents. 

A jury in the US District Court in Madison, Wisconsin found Abbott infringed on an Innogenetics patent that covers a method of detecting the hepatitis C virus through what is called genotyping.

The damages could grow because Innogenetics said the judge could eventually triple the award "because the jury determined Abbott's patent infringement was willful", Innogenetics, of Ghent, said.

A judge's ruling on whether to increase the damages award could come next month, the companies said.

"This is a landmark victory for Innogenetics and possibly for other innovators like us out there," Innogenetics chief executive Frank Morich said.

Innogenetics said the damages award may be increased up to three times at the judge's discretion and that it would seek an injunction against Abbott's diagnostics products that infringe its patent.

Abbott is not ruling out an appeal of the award, saying company executives are "evaluating our legal options", the company said. "Abbott continues to believe Innogenetics' patent is invalid and that our product does not infringe."

Innogenetics reported USD 62 million in annual worldwide sales last year. By comparison, Abbott's global diagnostics sales last year were USD 3.8 billion or 17 percent of the company's total USD 22.3 billion sales.

Innogenetics has 530 employees compared with Abbott's 65,000 employees around the world. Innogenetics specialises in diagnostic testing, particularly in analysing blood samples for infectious diseases including hepatitis and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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