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.