SLOUGH, England, October 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Servier is disappointed by the decision of the English High Court (Mr Justice Norris) to award damages to Apotex of GBP17.5 million in the case of Les Laboratoires Servier vs Apotex Inc. Servier is currently considering whether to appeal the Judgment. However, Servier acknowledges that Mr Justice Norris's Judgment rejected Apotex's original claim for GBP27 million and awarded it a substantially reduced amount (GBP17.5 million).

This Judgment follows the decision of the late Mr Justice Pumfrey in July 2007 that the UK part of one of Servier's European patents for perindopril (the alpha form) was invalid. In July 2006, the Canadian generics company Apotex launched a generic version of perindopril onto the UK market. Relying on Servier's European Patent (UK) number 1 296 947 (which had recently been upheld by a decision of The Opposition Division of the European Patent Office), Servier applied for and obtained an interim injunction preventing Apotex from importing its generic perindopril product in to the UK until after a full trial of the patent issues. This trial took place in March 2007 and unfortunately on 6 July 2007 Mr Justice Pumfrey in the High Court ruled in favour of the generics company and declared that the UK only designation of the 1 296 947 patent was invalid.

The UK is the only European market, with the exception of The Netherlands, where Servier has been challenged on the validity of a national designation of European Patent number 1 296 947 and there has been a decision in favour of a generics company.

The English position has been overtaken by a recent decision from the Canadian courts. Before Mr Justice Norris handed down his Judgment, Servier was successful in Canadian legal proceedings against Apotex. These proceedings concerned a Canadian patent for perindopril which Apotex has been held to infringe. If the Canadian decision is upheld on appeal, Servier will be able to claim compensation from Apotex for its infringement. As Apotex manufactured most of its perindopril in Canada for worldwide distribution, Servier is confident that the level of compensation it will be able to claim from Apotex will be significant.

Encouraged by the decisions of the European Patent Office and the Canadian Courts, Servier will continue to defend its intellectual property rights for the benefit of patients around the world.

Servier is an independent research based company which invests 25% of its turnover back into R&D, which is considerably higher than the industry average of 16%. As a result of this we are able to produce true innovations which address unmet patient need and we are very proud of the heritage of the Coversyl family (the active ingredient of which is perindopril). Coversyl products have a very strong evidence base, having been investigated in monotherapy and combination therapy in landmark clinical trials involving over 30,000 patients, such as PROGRESS, ASCOT, EUROPA and ADVANCE. Despite this ruling and the award of damages to Apotex, we will continue to maintain our commitment to the development of the entire Coversyl family.

For more information visit the Servier UK website

Servier Corporate Affairs; +44(0)1753-666202; +44(0)7734-719682