Courts more open to patent-busting

Patents aren't just an issue in Thailand, either. These days, drugmakers are having a more difficult time keeping patent protection on their products, the Financial Times notes. Ever since top U.S. courts said last spring that "obviousness" could derail a patent, some of pharma's protections have been in peril. Particularly, of course, those patents on meds that are just tweaked-up versions of existing drugs, such as extended-release formulations. Last week, a trial court nullified Bayer's patent on its Yasmin contraceptive for obviousness.

Lehman Bros. estimates that a quarter of 2008 pharma revenue will be at risk from generics by 2012, the Times reports. An additional 9 percent would be if drugmakers lose a lot of lawsuits. There's some hope, though; you'll recall that just yesterday generics maker Teva lost its bid to flatten Pfizer's patents on the painkiller Celebrex.

- read the story in the FT