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Genentech loses patent ruling

February 22, 2007|From Bloomberg News

Genentech Inc. said Wednesday that it lost a ruling on a patent that generates an estimated $300 million a year in royalties from companies using the technology to make cancer and rheumatoid arthritis treatments.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Genentech's so-called Cabilly II patent based on a reexamination requested by MedImmune Inc. and another party.

Genentech's patent covers methods used in producing antibody-based therapies. Competitors that pay royalties to use it include Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories and ImClone Systems Inc. It has been the focus of lawsuits since Genentech won the patent in 2001.

The patent examiner said the invention was a variation of technology already covered by earlier patents. The decision will go before an appeals board within the patent office and then to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington.

South San Francisco-based Genentech pays a portion of its royalties to City of Hope, a nonprofit research center in Duarte. A 1976 agreement between the company and City of Hope has been the subject of a legal dispute since 1999.

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