Medicines Co. wins Angiomax fight with PTO

Remember the dust-up between Medicines Co. (NASDAQ: MDCO) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office? They've been fighting over the company's application for a patent extension on the blood thinner Angiomax. The PTO says the app was two days late, but Medicines Co. begs to differ.

Most recently, the PTO issued a final refusal on the extension app. This would have opened Angiomax up to generic competition as early as November, Bloomberg reports. And with Angiomax accounting for 95 percent of Medicine Co.'s 2009 revenue, that generic competition would have been devastating.

But Medicines Co. has dodged the bullet. A U.S. judge ordered the PTO to consider the company's application for an extension. "Congress intended for the applicant to have 60 days," Judge Claude Hilton writes. "The PTO interpreted the statute in a manner that deprives the applicant the 60 days that Congress intended for them to receive."

At issue was whether those 60 days were calendar days--which would have made the app late, as PTO contended--or business days, as Medicines Co. maintained. Hilton sided with the company. Now, if the PTO grants that extension, Angiomax could have several more years of patent protection. Until December 2014, Medicines Co. claims.

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