Abbott ordered to pay J&J $1.7 billion, breaking the record for patent verdict

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) probably did not want to be the one to break this particular record, but it wasn't up to the big pharmaceutical company. It was up to a jury, and the jury ordered Abbott to pay Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) $1.67 billion for patent infringement of its rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira -- making it the largest patent verdict in U.S. history.

Abbott's best-selling drug, Humira, competes with Remicade, a drug made by J&J's Centocor unit. Centocor claims it has licensed a technology from New York University, and that Abbott is using the same one to make Humira. This technology, called anti-TNF, blocks tumor necrosis factor proteins in the blood to prevent inflammation that can cause further symptoms.