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Advancis Likely To Change Name Following Ruling In Favor Of Sanofi-Aventis

This article was originally published in The Pink Sheet Daily

Executive Summary

Court rules that Advancis name infringes on Sanofi-Aventis' trademark and orders the two firms to submit a proposed order by Oct. 23.

Advancis Pharmaceuticals will likely change its corporate name after a Wilmington, Del. district court ruled that the name infringes on Sanofi-Aventis' trademark Sept. 26.

"Potentially, that would be essentially the downside, that we would change our corporate name, all printed materials, our website and our marketed products," the company told "The Pink Sheet" DAILY.

Nonetheless, the company noted that it is evaluating its options and could also consider re-opening the case to submit new information or filing an appeal. The district court ordered the parties to work together to submit a proposal for ordering a permanent injunction against Advancis by Oct. 23.

"The court concludes that, under the totality of the circumstances, marketplace confusion is likely," the ruling says. "The similarity of the marks, the most important factor in the court's analysis, weighs heavily in favor of the plaintiffs."

However, the court notes that Sanofi-Aventis failed to demonstrate "actual dilution" as a result of the Advancis mark. No monetary damages were associated with the decision.

Aventis filed the trademark infringement suit in December 2003, prior to the merger that created Sanofi-Aventis. A trial in the case was held in May 2005.

If Advancis does ultimately change its name, it will not be the first time the drug maker has done so. The Germantown, Md. company was initially named Advanced Pharmaceuticals and later shortened the name to Advanced Pharma. In September 2001, the drug maker changed its name to Advancis after it became aware of a nutritional company with a name similar to Advanced Pharma.

Advancis markets the antibiotic Keflex (cephalexin) and is developing a once-daily amoxicillin employing its Pulsystechnology, which is on track for an NDA filing in December 2006/January 2007(1 (Also see "Advancis Will Go It Alone On Amoxicillin Pulsys" - Pink Sheet, 11 Aug, 2006.)).

-Jessica Merrill ([email protected])

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