Pfizer IncPfizer Inc announced today that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld the two main U.S. patents covering Celebrex, the company's selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicine used to treat pain and inflammation. The patents had been challenged by generic manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals USA.

The panel ruled that the patents (Nos. 5,466,823 and 5,563,165) covering the active ingredient and a pharmaceutical composition thereof are valid, enforceable and infringed by the generic manufacturer's product. In the same decision, the Court ruled that a third patent (No. 5,760,068) covering the use in the treatment of inflammation was invalid. The decision prohibits Teva from launching a competitor drug in the U.S. until May 2014. Either party may request a rehearing by the Court of Appeals or a review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Celebrex was approved by the FDA in 1998. Its sales totaled $1.7 billion the U.S. in 2007.

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