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U.S. Appeals Court Upholds $442.2 Mln Plavix Award

Tuesday, 18 Oct 2011 08:23 PM

 

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(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court upheld a ruling requiring Apotex Inc to pay Sanofi and Bristol-Myers $442 million for infringing a patent for the blood thinner Plavix but tossed out $108 million in interest on Tuesday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears most appeals related to patents, ruled that Apotex, a privately held Canadian drugmaker, was required to pay the damages but that the lower court erred in awarding prejudgment interest.

Apotex briefly sold a generic version of Plavix in a so-called at risk launch, while challenging the validity of a patent for the anti-clot drug used to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

But a court ruled that the Canadian company had infringed the patent and forced Apotex to stop selling its version.

Plavix, known generically as clopidogrel bisulfate, generated $1.87 billion in sales during the second quarter, underscoring the importance of the medicine to Bristol-Myers and French partner Sanofi.

The patent for Plavix expires in May 2012.

Sanofi and Bristol-Myers Squibb said in a statement that while they were pleased with the damages award, they were disappointed with the court's decision with respect to the prejudgment interest.

The case had come from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which had issued the order for Apotex to pay the $442 million in damages plus additional interest in October 2010.

Litigation in the case goes back to March 2002. Sanofi is based in Paris, and Bristol-Myers in New York.

The Federal Circuit case is Sanofi-Aventis et al v. Apotex Inc et al. No. 2011-1048

The underlying case is Sanofi-Aventis et al v. Apotex Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 02-02255. (Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington, D.C.)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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