Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy has reported that a five-judge panel of the Supreme Patent and Trademark Board of Austria (OPM) has unanimously affirmed an earlier ruling of the Austrian Patent Office, invalidating claims 1-3 of Pfizer's Austrian Patent AT 207896, that cover Atorvastatin calcium (Lipitor).

"We are pleased with the decision rendered by the Supreme Patent and Trademark Board of Austria," said Malvinder Singh, CEO and managing director of Ranbaxy. "Our success further validates our strategy to successfully commercialize Atorvastatin in Austria, and potentially other healthcare markets in the future. It is anticipated that this will have a positive impact on healthcare costs, by providing a high quality, generic alternative at affordable prices."

On March 29, 2005, the patent office had ruled AT 207896 invalid for lack of novelty over Pfizer's international patent application PCT/US89/00719.

Atorvastatin calcium, sold as Lipitor by Pfizer, posted sales of over $12 billion in 2005. Ranbaxy has also challenged other Pfizer drugs in a similar manner, in countries such as the U.S., UK, Austria, Norway and Finland.