The University of Wisconsin’s technology transfer organization has to pay Washington University in St. Louis $31.6 million for breach of a royalties contract tied to a pharmaceutical sold by AbbVie Inc.
The judgment, issued Monday, comes in a rare fight between two universities involved in a patent-licensing deal with a private company.
The dispute dates back to the 1990s, when researchers from the two schools collaborated to treat conditions related to kidney disease. The schools applied for a patent related to one of the treatments, and Wisconsin’s technology transfer office agreed to spearhead the patent process and licensing efforts in exchange for a larger cut of royalties.
Abbott Laboratories licensed the patent in 1998 for a drug to treat kidney disease. Abbot spun AbbVie off in 2013.
Washington University alleged the Wisconsin office had breached their agreement by undervaluing the patent and misleading its St. Louis counterparts.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch