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New Delhi, March 29

RANBAXY Laboratories on Tuesday said that the Austrian Patent Office has ruled in its favour in a patent lawsuit with Pfizer for cholesterol-lowering drug Atorvastatin.

The Austrian Patent Office has invalidated three patent claims by Pfizer, the company said in a release.

The patent office invalidated claims 1-3 (all claims sought to be invalidated) of Austrian Patent No AT E 207 896, a Pfizer-owned published patent application and a Pfizer-owned patent, as reflected by a decision released by the Austrian Patent Office, it said.

Alternatively, and in addition, the court agreed with Ranbaxy that the patent claims lack an inventive step over Pfizer' United States Patent, it added.

In response to the decision by the Austrian Patent Office, Mr Brian W. Tempest, CEO & Managing Director, Ranbaxy, said, "We are obviously pleased that the Austrian Patent Office has agreed with our position."

Pfizer can, however, appeal against the ruling. The global market for Atorvastatin in 2004 was $12 billion.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 30, 2005)
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