SAN FRANCISCO -- A U.S. District Court here on Thursdaydismissed part of a patent infringement case brought againstCygnus Therapeutics Systems by Elan Transdermal Ltd. ofIreland over a nicotine transdermal patch.

The court granted Cygnus' request for a summary judgmentthat the manufacture and clinical testing of its Nicotroltransdermal patch did not infringe Elan's patent, according toCygnus.

Still to be decided in a jury trial scheduled to start next Jan. 25is Elan's claim that use of the Cygnus patch by commercialcustomers would infringe its U.S. patent No. 4,946,853, saidLynn Pasahow, a San Francisco attorney who representedCygnus. An infringement claim based on use of the patch is amore difficult case for Elan to prove, he said.

Cygnus of Redwood City, Calif., developed Nicotrol for Warner-Lambert Co., which has received FDA approval to market thepatch as an aide to quiting smoking. Cygnus is manufacturing astockpile of the patch in preparation for the product's launch.

Elan filed similar lawsuits against three other companies inconnection to its patent claims to nicotine transdermal patches,Pasahow said. A case against Ciba-Geigy is pending in federalcourt in New Jersey. Elan settled cases against two developersof another patch, Alza Corp. and Marion Merrell Dow Inc., butthe two companies have reported that the settlement wouldhave no financial impact, he said.

Cygnus stock (NASDAQCYGN) closed Thursday at $11.75 ashare, down $1.

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