In a patent case that could change the way drug companies enter into licensing agreements, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that biotech firm MedImmune Inc. may sue its licensing partner Genentech Inc. over one of the most famous patents in biotech.

The court’s 8-1 decision Tuesday — only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented — reversed several lower court rulings that said MedImmune couldn’t pay license fees on a patent and sue to have the patent overturned at the same time.

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