AbbVie Deutschland GmbH & Co. v. Janssen Biotech, Inc., No. 13-1338 (Fed. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
An antibody is a protein that binds to a foreign substance, called an antigen, to facilitate its removal from the body, and is useful in treating diseases. AbbVie owns patents directed to genetically engineered fully human antibodies that bind to and neutralize the activity of human interleukin 12 (IL-12), a signaling protein secreted by the human body, the overproduction of which can cause psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Because the human body does not typically make antibodies to neutralize its own proteins, it does not produce IL-12 antibodies naturally. Antibodies from a non-human species can cause adverse immune reactions in humans. The AbbVie patents share the same written description and claim priority from a provisional application filed in 1999; they describe the amino acid sequence of about 300 antibodies having a range of IL-12 binding affinities. AbbVie sued for infringement and the defendants sought interference review under 35 U.S.C. 146. The district court entered judgments of invalidity in both the infringement and the interference actions. The Federal Circuit affirmed; all of the asserted claims are invalid for failing to satisfy the written description requirement.