Patent litigation could explode in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling Tuesday in a closely watched dispute over patent validity between two biotechnology firms.

The Court, by an 8-1 vote, reinstated a lawsuit by MedImmune challenging a Genentech patent related to Synagis, a popular drug for treatment of respiratory disease in children. The opinion in MedImmune v. Genentech, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, says patent licensees no longer have to breach the license in order to have standing to challenge the patent that they dispute. Patent lawyers say the ruling could lead to a flurry of challenges to existing patents.

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