GENT, Belgium and MADISON, Wisc., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Innogenetics announced that yesterday the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin entered a permanent injunction against Abbott Laboratories, enjoining Abbott from any further sales or use of products, including components, that infringe on Innogenetics' patented Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) genotyping technology. The court's injunction also prohibits Abbott from exporting components of the infringing products to foreign countries.
In September 2006 a jury unanimously found that Abbott had willfully infringed Innogenetics' U.S. patent No. 5,846,704 ("the '704 patent"), covering a method of genotyping HCV, and awarded Innogenetics $7 million in damages.
Yesterday's ruling came at the close of an evidentiary hearing to determine the potential public impact of a permanent injunction against Abbott. At the hearing, the court reiterated its finding last week that Innogenetics suffered irreparable harm from Abbott's infringement. The court further found that Innogenetics has the capacity to serve the needs of the Hepatitis C diagnostic market and that Innogenetics had taken all reasonable steps to comply with Good Manufacturing Procedures set out by the FDA.
"This case is a clear example of why patent protections exist. Small, forward-looking companies must be able to protect their innovations from misappropriation by larger more powerful competitors," said Frank Morich, CEO of Innogenetics. "I hope that Abbott has learned through this process that other people's intellectual property can not be ignored in the pursuit of profit."
In September 2005, Innogenetics sued Abbott Laboratories alleging that Abbott was infringing the company's '704 patent, which covers a method of genotyping the Hepatitis C Virus. The court found the patent was infringed as a matter of law. On September 1, 2006, a jury returned a unanimous verdict for Innogenetics that the '704 patent was valid in all respects. On September 8, 2006, the same jury unanimously found that Abbott's actions had been willful, and directed Abbott to pay Innogenetics $7 million in damages related to the infringement up to the time of the trial. On January 4, 2007, the judge in this case dismissed Abbott's requests for a new trial, affirmed the jury's finding that Abbott infringed the patent, that the patent was valid in all respects and approved the award of $7 million in damages. The judge overturned the jury's unanimous finding that Abbott's infringement had been willful. Today's evidentiary hearing was to determine whether or not Abbott should be permanently enjoined from selling products that infringe Innogenetics' patent.
Innogenetics is currently evaluating the total case and its legal options including an appeal on willfulness.
Innogenetics is an international biopharmaceutical company building parallel businesses in the areas of specialty diagnostics and therapeutic vaccines.
In 2005, total revenues (product sales, royalties, and license fees) reached euro 48.6 million, with a profitable Specialty Diagnostics Division. Its Diagnostics Division develops a large number of specialty products covering three areas: infectious diseases (hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and HIV), genetic testing (HLA tissue typing and cystic fibrosis), and neurodegeneration (Alzheimer's disease). In its Therapeutics Division, Innogenetics focuses on the development of therapeutic vaccines to address unmet medical needs in the field of infectious diseases, with two compounds now in clinical trials (hepatitis C in phase IIb and hepatitis B in phase I).
Founded in 1985, Innogenetics is listed on Euronext Brussels [Ticker: INNX]. Innogenetics' headquarters are in Gent, Belgium, with sales subsidiaries in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and the United States. Innogenetics employs 525 people worldwide and has a market capitalization of approximately euro 295 million.
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Forward looking statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to projections of future revenues, operating income, and other risks. Prospective investors should be aware that these statements are estimates, reflecting only the judgments and projections of Innogenetics' management, and no undue reliance should be placed on such forward-looking statements.