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Budapest court rejects Merck patent case against Richter drug - extended

A Budapest court rejected Merck & Co.'s patent-infringement case against Gedeon Richter Nyrt's Sedron osteoporosis medicine, reaffirming an appellate court ruling from one year ago.

The Capital Court yesterday reaffirmed a 2006 appellate court ruling that Budapest-based Richter's Sedron osteoporosis treatment didn't violate Merck & Co.'s patent on Fosamax. Gedeon Richter Nyrt had to pull Sedron from the market for eight months last year after Merck sued, Zsuzsa Beke, a spokeswoman for the Hungarian company, said in a telephone interview today.
„There is no decision about the amount, and we still don't know the date of the next court date,” she said. Richter last year said it wanted more than Ft 3 billion forint (€11.9 million) from Merck. „Nobody knows for the time being what percentage of this amount will be granted to us.”
Richter, eastern Europe's biggest drugmaker, specializes in generic copies of brand-name drugs that have lost patent protection. Generic-drug makers including Richter, Slovenia's Krka Group d.d. and Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries often are defendants in lawsuits brought by the pharmaceutical companies that develop new medicines.
Merck may appeal yesterday's ruling, said Andras Vajda, head of the Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based company's Hungarian unit. „We are waiting for the receipt of the written resolution of the court's interim resolution to evaluate it based on its legal background,” Vajda said in an e-mailed statement. (Bloomberg)