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November 4, 2002
It'll Be a While
Merck has won the first round in its legal fight to protect their Fosamax (alendronate) patents (see my September 3 post.) On Monday, a U.S. District court found for Merck in the lawsuit filed by Teva. I haven't seen the decision, so I'm not sure if the ruling directly addressed Merck's method-of-treatment claims for the entire class of compounds. I assume that it did, though.
There are more cases pending in other jurisdictions, though - some of these involve Merck's claims to Fosamax protection (in some dosage forms) out to 2018. Teva's already said that they'll appeal this week's decision, so it could be a while before anyone figures out what's going on. Time is on Merck's side, of course, but at the same time, the long time horizon of the patents that they're defending makes them a more worthwhile target to break.
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