Debate over the University of Rochester's (UR) claim for royalties from arthritis blockbuster Celebrex continues as UR appeals an early defeat for its patent on cox-2 inhibitors. Though the district court ruling this month against UR sent a chill through academic labs that rely on basic-science patents, attorneys disagree on how relevant the Rochester case will really be for other academic researchers.

On March 5, US District Judge David Larimer invalidated the UR patent, ruling that it did not name a specific compound, such as Celebrex, or spell out how to create one.

Anti-inflammatories that operate by manipulating the cox-2 enzyme are big money makers. Had Larimer's ruling gone the other way, UR was ready to lay claim not only to a share of the billions of dollars in annual sales of Celebrex, but also to a cut of profits on other cox-2 inhibitors, such as Merck's Vioxx....

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