Teva Pharmaceutical Industries says it plans to appeal a US judge's decision to uphold patents protecting Pfizer’s painkiller Celebrex.

The US District Court for New Jersey has ruled that three patents for Celebrex (celecoxib) were valid and enforceable, blocking the Israeli company's Abbreviated New Drug Application to market 100mg, 200mg and 400mg generic doses of the drug. Patents covering Celebrex begin expiring in 2013, but Pfizer said the applicable patents prevent a generic launch of the drug until December 2015.

Judge John Lifland upheld the validity of three Pfizer patents covering the drug and stated that Teva's view that the patents were a variation of earlier inventions "fails at every major crossroad." The case had begun in 2004 when the New York-headquartered drugs giant sued Teva to stop a filing to the US Food and Drug Administration for approval to sell generic Celebrex, which had sales in the USA last year of $1.57 billion.