In October, we published a blog post describing how trade secret claims filed by AbbVie were dismissed by the Northern District of Illinois for lack of personal jurisdiction over AbbVie’s former employee in Singapore and the competitor that poached him, Alvotech of Iceland. At that time, we thought AbbVie might replead to keep its trade secret claims in Federal District Court. AbbVie chose instead to appeal the District Court’s dismissal to the Seventh Circuit.
In addition, AbbVie has now pursued a second route—one that is becoming more and more common for global corporations claiming injury from trade secret misappropriation: AbbVie has also filed a Section 337 Complaint to the International Trade Commission (“ITC”), seeking to block imports of Alvotech’s biosimilar of AbbVie’s Humira arthritis treatment. Unlike the Federal Court action, the Section 337 Complaint is against both Alvotech and Teva (Israel) as a commercialization partner.
There are a number of strategic advantages in turning to the ITC, most notably here there is no requirement of personal jurisdiction, as the ITC has in rem jurisdiction over U.S. imports. AbbVie thus may have a stronger likelihood to successfully obtain relief against these foreign actors in the ITC; moreover, this decision would likely have a preclusive effect on the Federal action.
Crowell & Moring LLP has formidable expertise handling matters in front of the ITC and Federal Courts, including matters that involve biosimilars and trade secrets. We will continue monitoring this ongoing dispute.