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Lilly loses British Supreme Court ruling over gene patent

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The British Supreme Court ruled in favor of Human Genome Sciences Inc. in its dispute with Eli Lilly and Co. over the validity of a patent for a gene sequence that could be used to treat people with immune diseases.

The United Kingdom's top court upheld a patent awarded to Rockville, Md.-based Human Genome in 2005 for the neutrokine alpha protein, part of the tumor necrosis factor “superfamily” of proteins. Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly had persuaded a U.K. judge in a previous hearing to revoke the patent on the basis that Human Genome’s list of potential uses for the gene was too vague.

One of the five U.K. Supreme Court judges who ruled in the dispute, Robert Walker, said it was an “important case” for the bioscience industry. The decision would “reduce the risk of a chilling effect on investment in bioscience” and “align this country’s interpretation of the European Patent Convention more closely” with other countries, he said.

The European Patent Office, which isn’t part of the European Union and has 38 member countries, offers the closest thing currently available to an EU-wide patent. Once the patent is granted, a company has to defend it in each country where it is valid.

Lilly maintains the patent is invalid and is “exploring available avenues to make its case,” the company said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. “Human Genome Sciences seek to foreclose a whole area of research in a way that is not only harmful to the industry, but would ultimately and unjustifiably hinder the future development of new medicines,” it said.

Lilly stock rose 45 cents Wednesday morning, to $37.68 per share.

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  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!

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