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19 March 2009

Merck Patent, EP1175904B, on 70mg Weekly Fosamax Revoked by EPO

David Al-Khalili

EP1175904B, Merck's patent relating to 70mg weekly alendronate, was declared as lacking inventive step over the prior art by the Opposition Division of the EPO at a hearing held on 17-18 March 2009. It was one of the largest oppositions to be held at the EPO after Merck had used a divisional application to recycle their initial patent on the weekly dosage (EP998292B) after it was revoked by the EPO Technical Board of Appeal in 2006. This patent has generated huge interest within the pharmaceutical industry and had already been the subject of litigation in several EU territories.

Neil Nachshen, Partner at D Young & Co, represented Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, TEVA Classics, TEVA UK Ltd and Pharmachemie BV in these proceedings.

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