Eli Lilly & Co. appeared to score another victory in litigation with Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. Monday, as Ariad said a federal court maintained its ruling that Lilly did not violate a patent held by Ariad.
An en banc session of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Ariad's patent claims are not adequately described in writing, which makes them invalid. That backed a ruling by a smaller panel last April.
As a result, Lilly is not liable for the four claims of patent infringement. Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research are Ariad's co-plaintiffs in the case.
Ariad, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., said it is reviewing the en banc ruling. The company licensed the technology and patent from three researchers at Harvard, MIT, and the Whitehead Institute.
In 2006, a district court awarded $62.5 million to Ariad and its co-plaintiffs, saying Lilly infringed on the patents, which cover medical treatment targeting a specific molecular pathway. Some of Lilly's drugs, including Evista for osteoporosis, do target that pathway.
The federal appeals court reversed the decision in April. Ariad then appealed to have the case reheard by the entire panel of federal appeals court judges in what is known as an en banc hearing.