Appeals court gives AbbVie a win: Humira patents are weak but valid

Aug. 3, 2022

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a decision made in 2019 by a judge in Illinois who ruled in favor of AbbVie — reaffirming that the company’s patent enforcement practices that kept market exclusivity for Humira were legal. 

AbbVie has been criticized for holding Humira, the world’s best-selling drug, behind a steel wall of patents. When the original patent expired in 2016, the company went on to file over 130 patents to ensure market exclusivity for longer.

In the recent ruling, Baltimore representatives argued that AbbVie’s number of patents alone would lead to higher drug prices due to the aggressive defense, scaring off companies and preventing biosimilars from reaching the market.

Now, the appeals court is saying ‘weak patents are valid,’ providing a win for AbbVie in its long battle to keep exclusivity over the drug.

While AbbVie is bracing itself for nine biosimilars to hit the U.S. market next year, Humira generated $20.7 billion worldwide last year despite biosimilar competition in Europe.