The Federal Court of Australia has upheld an earlier favourable decision by the Federal court in Ranbaxy Laboratories' case against Pfizer on the drug multinational's cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin's Australian patent (No 628198), Ranbaxy said in a statement.
Atorvastatin, marketed by Pfizer as Lipitor, is the world's largest selling drug, with over $12 billion in worldwide sales last year.
The full court had ruled that one of Pfizer's patents was invalid for lack of utility, false suggestion and misrepresentation in obtaining the grant of Australian patent. The court had, however, found that Ranbaxy's atorvastatin product infringed another Pfizer patent.
"We are pleased with this decision as it stands, as it advances the entry of Ranbaxy's generic atorvastatin in Australia to 18 May 2012," said Jay Deshmukh, Ranbaxy's senior vice president, global intellectual property.
Pfizer and Ranbaxy are engaged in a patent war across markets for Lipitor, the patent on which was originally scheduled to expire in June 2011. In 2006, a US federal appeals court invalidated the patent after Ranbaxy mounted a challenged to it.
Earlier, in April, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rejected Pfizer's application for re-issue of the Lipitor patent, allowing Ranbaxy Laboratories to go ahead with the proposed launch of a generic version of the cholestrol-lowering drug in the US in March 2010, 15 months ahead of schedule with 180-day exclusive marketing rights. (See: Ranbaxy gets a boost as US patent office rejects Pfizer's Liptor plea)
Pfizer has told its investors that it would be ring-fencing Lipitor and would be looking to protect its patents.