G. Naga Sridhar

Hyderabad, June 7 In pursuance of its ongoing litigation on cardio drug Nexium (Esomeprazole), pharma major Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd filed for a declaratory judgment on its patents in a US court.

“While we cannot say the number or nature of patents involved, the company filed a petition in New Jersey district court seeking declaratory judgement on Nexium separately from Teva,” a spokesperson of Dr Reddy’s told Business Line.

“The objective of the move was to trigger exclusivity on the drug before 2014, when Ranbaxy was slated to launch the generic version,” he added.

Declaratory judgments are common in patent litigation as well as in other areas of intellectual property litigation. It can be defined as a tool that allows an alleged infringer to “clear the air” with regard to a product or service, which may be the focal point of a business.

What prompted Dr Reddy’s filing for the declaratory judgment was an agreement between Ranbaxy (which has exclusivity on Nexium) and Swedish firm AstraZeneca to postpone the launch of generic version from April 2008 to May 2014.

This would affect Dr Reddy’s plans for launch of the drug. Dr Reddy’s and AstraZeneca are currently engaged in a legal battle on mutual allegations on Nexium patent infringements.

Further, the huge sales potential of Nexium ($5.2 billion in 2007 according to industry experts) would also make it all the more important for the Hyderabad-based pharma giant.

Declaratory judgments are common in patent litigation as well as in other areas of intellectual property litigation. It can be defined as a tool that allows an alleged infringer to “clear the air” with regard to a product or service, which may be the focal point of a business.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 8, 2008)
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