Glaxo Sues Over Patent Infringement of Snoring Patches

A U.S. unit of GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s two biggest drug makers, has accused a Florida health-products company of infringing a patent for Breathe Right nasal dilator strips used to combat snoring.

The Glaxo unit, CNS, of Moon Township, Pennsylvania, asked a U.S. District Court judge to prohibit the Florida company, ASO, from selling its competing Clear Passage nasal strips in the United States and to award unspecified damages after a trial. Glaxo’s subsidiary is “entitled to an injunction against further infringement” to prevent “irreparable harm” by ASO, lawyers for CNS said in a complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Glaxo, based in Brentford, England, acquired CNS last year, according to the lawsuit. ASO, based in Sarasota, Florida, acquired the Clear Passage business from Schering-Plough of Kenilworth, New Jersey, in 2003, court papers show. Breathe Right is placed across the nose, widening the nostrils to allow entry of more air to reduce snoring and relieve nasal stuffiness. CNS licenses the patent, originally awarded in 2001, from Creative Integration & Design, of St. Paul, Minnesota. Craig Gesell, vice president for finance at ASO, said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment. Glaxo shares fell 10 pence to £12.43, or $25.50, in London trading on Friday.

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