teva - Sasson Tiram - August 5 2010
Teva Chair Eli Hurvitz, left, with General Manager Shlomo Yanai last year. Photo by Sasson Tiram
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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries suffered a defeat at the hands of drug giant Eli Lilly & Co., which won a patent battle protecting its osteoporosis drug Evista yesterday. A U.S. appeals court declined to toss out a permanent injunction preventing production of a generic copy of the medicine.

Evista, which had sales of $259.5 million in the second quarter of 2010, is used to treat osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that a lower court was correct in banning Teva from making a copycat version of Evista and that the Eli Lilly patents were valid. The patents expire in March 2014, Eli Lilly said.

"We are pleased with today's ruling from the court of appeals regarding Evista's method-of-use patents and believe that the court fairly applied long-standing patent law principles," said Robert Armitage, Eli Lilly's general counsel.

But the court also upheld a decision by the district court in Indiana that portions, or claims, in two other Eli Lilly patents related to Evista were invalid.

Shares of Teva edged down 0.5% on thin turnover yesterday, while the benchmark index rose 0.3%.