STOP PRESS: LIPITOR RULING


The ruling

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.

Background

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.
STOP PRESS: LIPITOR RULING STOP PRESS: LIPITOR RULING Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 Rating: 5

6 comments:

  1. Regarding the Deutsche Bank prediction, it would seem that not all analysts were of the same opinion. At Forbes.com, the following was reported:
    "Timothy Anderson, an analyst at Prudential Equity Group, wrote yesterday in a note to investors that New York-based Pfizer, the world’s largest drug firm, is likely to win on both patents. He put the odds of a Pfizer win at 65% for the more critical of the two patents, and 50% on the second. Ranbaxy would probably have to win both to launch the drug soon."
    It would appear that there are analysts and analysts.

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  2. The decision is now on BAILII:

    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2005/2142.html

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