AZT dispute isn't over

WASHINGTON - A federal court judge's summary judgement in favor of Burroughs Wellcome's exclusive patent rights to AZT has set the stage for an appellate court to rule on a basic issue in intellectual property law - the definition of conception - with uncertain potential consequences for the biotechnology industry.

Judge Malcolm Howard, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, ruled last week in Burroughs Wellcome's patent infringement case against two generic drug manufacturers. Barr Laboratories sought the summary judgement in order to resolve the conception issue before proceeding with its case. If Barr succeeds