Chinese firms appeal Viagra patent ruling

SHANGHAI - Chinese drug firms have appealed a court ruling upholding US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s China patent for its impotency drug Viagra, both sides said Tuesday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 20 Jun 2006, 7:12 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:25 PM

The dozen Chinese companies are seeking a reversal of a Beijing court ruling which overturned a decision by the country’s patent review board that had allowed domestic firms to make Viagra-style drugs, their lawyer told AFP.

New York-based Pfizer had obtained a patent license for its erectile dysfunction treatment in 2001.

However the patent review board, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), revoked the license in July 2004 after the 12 Chinese pharmaceutical companies lodged complaints.

The patent office argued that Pfizer was in breach of intellectual property law because it failed to accurately explain the uses of the pill’s key ingredient, sildenafil citrate.

Pfizer won its nearly-two year appeal when the Beijing intermediate court ruled on June 2 in its favour.

The Chinese drug companies from various cities around the country claim to have invested over 100 million yuan (12 million dollars) in less expensive imitations of the little blue pill.

Their appeal has gone ahead despite the patent board having withdrawn its support, said lawyer Wang Wei, who is representing the Chinese firms.

“We hope that we can win,” Wang told AFP. “But it’s also hard to predict what will happen.”

“What I need to do is try my best to persuade the judge by demonstrating that the information for Pfizer’s patent is not enough.”

At stake for the companies is a market of 80 million Chinese men who suffer from impotence, according to a report by the China Daily.

In a statement Tuesday Pfizer maintained its patent rights in China stood firm.

“Our Viagra (sildenafil citrate) use patent is valid and enforceable in China and it is our hope that the Beijing High Peoples Court will reaffirm the validity of the patent,” it said.



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