A U.S. appeals court ruled that AbbVie Inc. does not need to defend itself from a lawsuit brought by the city of Baltimore, unions and insurance carriers that alleges the pharma giant used a patent thicket to improperly protect Humira (adalimumab) from competition. Before the ruling, the suit had the potential to upend widespread pharma industry business practices if it had been decided against AbbVie. It also comes amid news that the Biden administration is launching efforts to prevent patent thicketing, a process by which pharmaceutical companies extend patent exclusivity beyond what patent law ostensibly allows. Two laws, the Hatch-Waxman Act and Orphan Drug Act, set typical patent windows at five years and seven years, respectively. High-level officials at the FDA and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in July said they would be working together to scrutinize certain practices that could potentially lead to delays in competition from biosimilars and generics.