Campus News

WARF forced to pay $31.6 million after royalties breach

A federal court substantiated Washington University in St. Louis's belief that WARF had undervalued a patent the two institutions had shared since the 1990s.

Image By: Junaid Khalid and Junaid Khalid

A federal district court has mandated that the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the university’s licensing and patenting arm, pay Washington University in St. Louis $31.6 million dollars for breaching a royalties contract related to selling a kidney disease drug.

Washington University and WARF both held rights to the drug when it was developed in the 1990s, but WARF licensed the patent to Illinois-based company Abbott Laboratories in 1998. In 2013, AbbVie, a spin-off company, continued to use the patent to manufacture the drug.

Washington University opened the lawsuit against WARF in 2013, alleging the organization had violated terms of a royalties agreement and undervalued terms of the patent.

“After Washington University learned through publicly available information that this patent had a very significant value, the university reached out to WARF to try to negotiate a resolution and WARF just refused to give the university the information it needed; so, we had to file suit,” Michael Jacobs, the lead counsel for Washington University,said last March.

Washington University representatives say they wish they had been able to reach a more amicable solution.

“We remain disappointed that WARF would not negotiate a resolution and that we had to resolve this matter through the court system,” Washington University spokeswoman Caroline Arbanas said in a statement.

As of Sunday, WARF has not issued a statement regarding the settlement.

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