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Executive Summary

FOREST SYNCHRON PRODUCTS UNDER AGREEMENTS WITH SYNTEX AND UPJOHN remain included in claims for the technology allowed by the U.S. Patent Office, Forest noted in an Aug. 12 press release. Commenting on a ruling by the Patent Office that rejected Dow's administrative challenge to the Synchron patent, Forest President Howard Solomon said: "The patent claims now confirmed by the Patent Office, although modified in minor respects from the claims originally allowed, cover all the essentials of that technology. All products we have ever developed in which we have utilized this technology, including the products covered by agreements with Upjohn and Syntex, are included within the allowed claims." Responding to Forest's announcement, Dow issued the following statement: "Dow believes the new patent claims to be invalid in view of prior art in spite of the recent Patent Office action. Dow intends to contest the new patent claims and is reviewing available options. A decision should be made within 90 days." The Michigan-based chemical mfr. also noted that in the interim it was advising potential customers on alternate formulation methods "that avoid the new narrow claims of the patent." Dow's initial request to re-examine the Forest Synchron patent was filed in the fall of 1983 and subsequently denied by the Patent Office in January 1984. Subsequently, the company asked the Patent Office to re-examine the patent. The agency agreed to the re-examination in May 1984 ("The Pink Sheet" June 11, 1984, T&G-7). * The patent in question, U.S. 4,389,393, is one of five patents held by Forest for the sustained release technology and covers two forms of hydroxpropyl methylcellulose (Methocel) as the binder.

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