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BURROUGHS WELLCOME STATEMENT RE: AZT PATENT INFRINGEMENT TRIAL

 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Burroughs Wellcome Co. owns six patents covering the use of Retrovir(R) brand zidovudine (AZT) as a treatment for patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease or acquired immuodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). These patients -- the first of which was filed for in 1985 and issued from the U.S. Patent & Trademark office in 1988 -- name five scientists employed by Burroughs Wellcome Co. as inventors. These patents expire in the year 2005.
 The two genetic drug companies which have admitted infringing the AZT patents claim that they are not liable because the patents should have named two government scientists as co-inventors. Burroughs Wellcome says the government claim is unfounded.
 The company issued the following statement with regard to the upcoming trial: "The government has no right to our patents. The government's own patent law experts found that there was no basis for an NIH inventor claim on these patents. The NIH has made an unprecedented agreement with Barr Laboratories, Inc., whereby the NIH selected Barr to make the government inventor case in exchange for a `license' to the NIH potential right and, if Barr prevails, to pay Barr's attorney fees.
 "The patents in this lawsuit are valid and we believe the facts in the case will clearly show that the invention made by the five Burroughs Wellcome scientists was complete before anyone at the National Institutes of Health performed any work on the compound AZT. In fact, the NIH scientists did not know the identity of the compound we sent them to test.
 "Burroughs Wellcome was legally required to file these lawsuits because of the acts of infringement by the defendant generic companies. Protecting patent rights is fundamental to our existence as a research- based pharmaceutical company. Under our system, inventors receive patents in exchange for sharing their discoveries with the rest of the world. The patent system is designed to encourage innovation and the advancement of scientific knowledge for the benefit of all citizens.
 "We have confidence in the fairness and intelligence of the people who will be selected to hear the evidence presented and render a verdict in this case."
 -0- 6/24/93
 /CONTACT: Kathy Bartlett, 919-248-4302, or Doug Stokke, 919-248-8611, both of Burroughs Wellcome Co./


CO: Burroughs Wellcome CO. ST: North Carolina IN: MTC SU:

MM-SB -- CH002 -- 5214 06/24/93 09:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 24, 1993
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