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Settling business litigation allows partnership to continue

Many Georgia companies involved in disputes with one company are unable to move forward with other business partnerships until the issue is resolved. Business litigation can take significant time and financial resources, which could ultimately damage other business relationships. For example, a patent infringement claim filed by Juno Therapeutics against Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp. threatened an immunotherapy partnership Novartis has with a university in the northeast part of the country.

Juno's claim arose when St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital filed a lawsuit against the university. St. Jude's claimed that the university infringed on its rights to the patents associated with an immunotherapy procedure being developed for cancer patients. Juno joined in the lawsuit, asserting claims against Novartis due to a licensing agreement it signed with St. Jude's.

Approximately three years ago, Novartis and the University of Pennsylvania signed a licensing and research agreement to commercialize a treatment developed by a team at the university's Abramson Cancer Center. St. Jude's alleged that the university used technology patented by the well-known hospital. Recently, an agreement was reached between Novartis and Juno that resolves the dispute and allows the partnership between Novartis and the university to continue.

In some disputes, the ability to continue a partnership unfettered by business litigation outweighs the costs associated with settlement. In this case, the potential benefits to millions of cancer patients may also be worth the payments Novartis agreed to make to Juno. A settlement between two Georgia companies may not have the same far-reaching implications as this one, but the importance of being able to continue growing another business relationship may be crucial to the success of everyone involved.

Source: bizjournals.com, "Potential obstacle lifted from Penn Medicine and Novartis immunotherapy partnership", John George, April 7, 2015

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