Pfizer wins Viagra case in China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 December, 2006, 12:00am

Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker, has won a court case against a mainland drugmaker and a drug store.


The Jiangsu drugmaker and the Beijing drug store were ordered to stop producing and selling products under a brand similar to Viagra, the world's best-selling male-impotence treatment whose patent is owned by Pfizer.


The drugmaker was ordered to pay Pfizer 300,000 yuan, according to a court filing cited by Xinhua.


The Beijing First Intermediate People's Court ruling yesterday followed a decision by the State Intellectual Property Office in July 2004 that was seen as a negative signal regarding Beijing's commitment to protect drugmakers' discoveries.


The office withdrew Pfizer's Viagra patent after a challenge by mainland generic drugmakers. The patent, granted in September 2001, was to have expired in 2014.


Pfizer in September last year went to the Beijing court to ask for one million yuan compensation from two domestic drugmakers and one drug store in relation to Viagra.


In the case involving the second drugmaker, Pfizer accused a Guangdong firm of stealing the Chinese name of the brand in 1998 by registering with the State Intellectual Property Office. The court said a shortage of evidence did not support this accusation, Xinhua said.


The case has long been seen as an example of the struggle between China and the US to reach agreements on intellectual property rights.