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GSK loses out on UK Seroxat patent

Published on 10/11/05 at 10:18am

GlaxoSmithKline has been defeated in a long-running battle over the UK patent on its antidepressant Seroxat.

After four years of legal wrangling, the House of Lords has ruled in favour of Dutch company Synthon, which had successfully challenged the patent on paroxetine mesylate, a compound closely related to Seroxat, in December 2002.

GSK succeeded in having the decision overturned on appeal in June 2003, but the Lords reinstated the original ruling.

The decision backs up Synthon's assertion that their own, pre-existing patent application for paroxetine mesylate anticipated GSK's patent.

Bird & Bird, the law firm that helped Synthon win the case, said the decision represented an important clarification of what a first applicant needs to show in order to obtain their patent, over the second applicant.

The European Patent Office revoked GSK's equivalent European patent in December 2004, opening up one of the company's biggest selling products to generic competition.

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