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US Court denies Ranbaxy's rehearing petition

Pfizer Inc claims that the US Federal Court has denied Ranbaxy's petition for rehearing of an August 2 decision.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2006 16:41 IST

In the ongoing patent battle over atorvastatin, Pfizer Inc on Monday claimed that the US Federal Court has denied Ranbaxy's petition for rehearing of an August 2 decision, upholding exclusivity of the main patent covering the active ingredient in cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor.

"The court has declined to further review the August 2 decision," a statement on Pfizer's website said quoting its Senior Vice-President and Associate General Counsel Peter Richardson.

The main patent covering atorvastatin is supposed to expire in March 2010.

"As we noted in our response to the rehearing petition, the issues in this case were straightforward, the lower court's decision was consistent with prior law and it raised no matters of exceptional importance requiring that they be revisited again," Richardson added.

Pfizer said it planned to go back to the US Patent office to seek to correct a technical defect in a second patent covering the calcium salt of atorvastatin. The second patent, expiring in June 2011, was ruled invalid by the court on technical grounds.

Ranbaxy officials were not available for comment.

Earlier in August, the Federal Court had upheld Pfizer's basic patent on its top-selling drug Lipitor but a second, longer-running patent was ruled invalid.

The Court had ruled that the basic patent on Lipitor is valid thereby providing Pfizer with patent protection on the cholesterol-cutting drug until March 2010. However, the court also ruled that Pfizer's second patent on Lipitor, which would have protected the drug until June of 2011, was invalid. The ruling had shortened 15 months off the Pfizer patent.