Pfizer Limited v. Tyonex Nigeria Limited and Ebamic Pharmacy Limited
Federal High Court
Judgement delivered on January 23, 2007
Citation: 50 NIPJD (FHC. 2008) 25/7/2007
Judgement delivered by Justice B.B. Aliyu
Patent Infringement — This case involved a Pfizer patent claiming Amlodipine Besylate, which was being sold in Nigeria under the brand name NORVASC. The Defendants imported a generic version of this drug from Turkey and marketed it under the brand name AMLOVAS.
On 25 July 2003, the Plaintiff, Pfizer Inc. filed a writ of summons dated the July 24, 2003. The writ which was duly endorsed with the Statement of Claim sought the following reliefs:
1. A declaration that Patent RP 9970 was valid and had been infringed by the Defendants,Tyonex Nigeria Limited and Ebamic Pharmacy Limited, and all those on whose behalf the Defendants were sued.
2. An injunction to restrain the Defendants and each of those upon whose behalf the Defendants were sued whether by themselves, their directors, officers, employees, servants or agents or otherwise howsoever from doing or authorizing the doing of the following acts or any of them, that is to say importing, selling, using or for the purpose of sale or use in Nigeria, stocking the product branded as “AMLOVAS” or any other product containing the product named Amlodipine Besylate or otherwise infringe Patent No. 9970.
3. An order for delivery up for destruction on oath of all stock of AMLOVAS tablets or any other product or chemical compound which were in the Defendants’ possession, custody or power which infringe Patent 9970.
4. An enquiry as to damages.
5. Such further or other relief as the honourable court deemed fit.
The Defendants filed an amended Statement of Defence and a Counter Claim on on April 28, 2006. The counterclaim were in these terms:
a. General damages against the Plaintiff arising from the acts of the Plaintiff’s agent/attorney which resulted in the sealing up of the 1st Defendant’s premises and or depriving the 1st Defendant income from his trade in AMLOVAS.
b. A declaration that the detention of the Chief Executive/ Managing Director of the 1st Defendant at the cells of the F.C.I.D. Alagbon Close, for several days by or at the instance of the Plaintiff, their agents, servants, attorneys and or privies amounts to a serious violation of the 1st Defendant’s right to personal liberty and dignity of the person guaranteed under sections 33, 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 4, 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human & Peoples Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap. 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
c. Exemplary and aggravated damages for unlawful violation of the 1st defendant’s fundamental rights as assessed by the court.
The court ruled in favour of the Plaintiff. Delivering judgment on the suit, Justice B.B. Aliyu, ruled that the two companies had infringed Pfizer’s patent right by importing and selling AMLOVAS which contains Pfizer’s patented product, Amlodipine Besylate, and which Pfizer sells under the brand name Norvasc.