WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. (AP) -- Merck & Co. said Friday that a federal judge rejected its patent infringement claim against Canadian generic drugmaker Apotex over its bid to make a version of Nasonex, a nasal allergy treatment Merck sells.
Nasonex, Merck's brand name for mometasone furoate monohydrate, relieves congestion, sneezing, itchy or runny nose and must be used regularly to be effective, Merck said.
Merck sued Apotex Inc. and Apotex Corp. in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.
The court agreed Merck's patent on Nasonex is valid but ruled that a competing product from Apotex would not infringe on the patent. Apotex is seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell the generic.
Apotex did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on the ruling.
Merck said its patent is valid until April 3, 2018, and called the ruling "just one step in the lengthy patent litigation process." It called an appeal "likely."
Merck shares fell 14 cents after hours to $38.80 after the company announced the ruling. They had ended regular trading up 15 cents at $38.94, and they've traded between $29.47 and $39.50 the past year.