SAN DIEGO — Ending a three-year legal battle, Hybritech Inc. has settled its patent infringement suit against Monoclonal Antibodies Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., accepting $2.25 million in past damages while granting MAI a one-year license to use Hybritech's patent to make products for diagnosing human health.
The settlement of the suit, which involved MAI's signing a consent decree acknowledging Hybritech's patent, was closely watched in the biotechnology industry. The agreement clears the stage for a still-pending and potentially larger patent infringement suit that Hybritech brought last December against Abbott Laboratories, a $3-billion health-care company based in Chicago.
Both cases center on Hybritech's 1979 patent for monoclonal antibody "sandwich assay" technology that Hybritech, a San Diego-based unit of Eli Lilly & Co., insists is illegally incorporated in the products of several medical diagnostic companies.
Hybritech's patent so far has held up in court, but competitors, including Abbott, insist the technology is "obvious" and therefore non-proprietary.