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FIVE BURROUGHS WELLCOME AZT PATENTS UPHELD ON APPEAL; SIXTH IS REMANDED TO LOWER COURT FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: NOVOPHARM WILL PRESS ON WITH LITIGATION

Executive Summary

Five of Burroughs Wellcome's six patents for AZT (Retrovir, zidovudine) are valid, the D.C. federal appeals court ruled Nov. 22. The three-judge panel reviewed a July 1993 New Bern, N.C. federal court ruling that Wellcome was the sole inventor of AZT. The defendants in the New Bern case, Barr and Novopharm, claimed that the National Institutes of Health should also have been named as an inventor. "On the facts before us, it is apparent that the district court correctly ruled against Barr and Novopharm as to five of the patents" (numbers 4,724,232, 4,828,838, 4,833,130, 4,837,208 and 4,818,538), the appeals court said.

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