Pfizer to appeal Dutch Lipitor patent ruling

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Pfizer will seek to appeal a ruling of the Court of Appeals of The Hague in the Netherlands that Pfizer’s atorvastatin enantiomer (Lipitor) patent is invalid.

The patent (EP 409,281) had been challenged by generics manufacturer Ranbaxy Laboratories and expires in July 2010, according to the New York City-based Pfizer.

Pfizer said the court decision has no commercial impact because its basic patent covering Lipitor (EP 247,633) remains in force and expires in November 2011. Last week, the court ruled that the basic patent would be infringed by Ranbaxy’s proposed generic atorvastatin product. That decision, which is also subject to possible appeal, prevents the Mumbai, India-based Ranbaxy from launching a competitor drug before November 2011, Pfizer said.

The company said that the ruling does not affect patent litigation involving Lipitor in other jurisdictions, including the United States. Pfizer said it will continue to vigorously defend its patents against infringement.