Merck Loses Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Canadian Competitor

By Joseph Mandour on June 19, 2012

Patent Attorney San Diego – Merck announced today that it was not successful in its recent patent infringement lawsuit to protect the patent for its best selling drug Nasonex. The lawsuit, filed in 2009, was intended to stop Canadian drug manufacturer Apotex from selling a generic version of its popular nasal allergy drug.

Apotex, popular for selling less-expensive versions of many U.S. prescription medications, had been accused of selling a generic version of Nasonex before the Merck patent had expired. The Merck patent for Nasonex is not due to expire until 2018, but Apotex took an offensive stance and challenged the validity of the patent. The decision handed down in the New Jersey court was both positive and negative for the well-known drug company. The district court ruled that the Nasonex patent was valid, but the Apotex product did not infringe on Merck’s chemical composition. A patent attorney for Merck said that although the drug manufacturer is relieved that its patent was reaffirmed, it is reviewing its options and is likely to appeal the decision.

With many generic options, today’s brand name drug manufacturers often have tremendous competition in the prescription drug market. In addition to its increased research and development for new drugs, Merck has recently cut many of its prescription costs in an effort to compete with the growing number of generic drug options. Further contributing to its struggles, the patent for its popular drug Singular is set to expire in August and Pfizer’s version of its anti-cholesterol drug Vytorin, is doing much better than it had anticipated. However, despite its financial concerns, Merck’s first quarter earnings rose 67%, and the pharmaceutical giant appears poised for continued growth in the upcoming year.

Located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, Merck is one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world. Although it was established in 1891, it did not officially become a major U.S. drug company until after World War I. Currently Merck’s name is well known, not only because of its popular prescription medication commercials, but because its revenue and product sales have propelled it into the top seven pharmaceutical makers in the world.

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