Eli Lilly has won a small victory in its defence of Strattera’s patent after a judge in the US District Court in New Jersey placed a temporary ban on the sale of copycat forms of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug.

The company has reportedly won a two-week breather from the launch of generic versions of Strattera (atomoxetine) to allow it to seek further injunctions from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, given that the District judge denied Lilly’s primary request for a ban until the patent suit is settled.

The Indianapolis-based drugmaker could be facing generic competition far sooner than expected for Strattera, second-quarter sales of which topped $142 million, after a US court ruled earlier this month that a key patent protecting the drug is invalid.

The Court ruled against the company in its litigation with generic drugmaker Actavis over the validity of Lilly's ‘590, or method-of-use, patent on Strattera, which had originally been expected to expire in 2017.

Lilly has said it will be taking “every reasonable step” to protect its intellectual property rights, but given the threat of near-term generic competition has cut its sales forecast to growth in the low-to-mid single digits from its previous mid-single digits estimate.