The Patents Court (Mr Justice Pumfrey) has today handed down its judgment in the eagerly-watched contest between Ranbaxy and Pfizer over the latter's LIPITOR patents. The decision was a surprise (according to some) win for Pfizer, which retains its monopoly right in the UK till 2011. At the time of posting this news item, the full text of Pumfrey J's decision had not yet been posted on BAILII or on any of the subscription services. Ranbaxy has already said it proposed to appeal.
The IPKat says this is a good decision for the UK's patents professions. In the past, the UK Patents Court has been perceived as anti-patent, but decisions like this will make patentees feel more confident about having their IP rights litigated in London. Not so fast, adds Merpel - if the case goes to the Court of Appeal, we should remember that Lord Justice Jacob has taken some robustly different views to those held by Pumfrey J, for example in Reed v Reed.
News here from Bloomberg, MSN Money and Reuters.
Ranbaxy sought to invalidate Pfizer's UK patents on anti-cholesterol medicine LIPITOR, which has a $11 billion annual turnover. Pfizer has already lost a similar action brought by Ranbaxy in Austria; Deutsche Bank analysts placed an 80 percent probability on the same result occurring in the UK too.
The UK market for LIPITOR represents nearly 7 percent of that product's global sales. A defeat would however shake confidence in Pfizer's patent position in the far more important US market, where Ranbaxy is also challenging the patent. If Ranbaxy wins in the United States, Pfizer could face generic competition there by 2007, four years earlier than if the patents are upheld, punching a large hole in the group's future earnings.
Wednesday, 12 October 2005
Posted by Jeremy at 4:01:00 p.m.