UPDATE 1-U.S. appeals court upholds ruling invalidating J&J patent on Remicade

Remicade@ (Adds details)

Jan 23 (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday upheld a ruling that invalidated a crucial Johnson & Johnson patent on its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade, limiting J&Js ability to seek damages from Pfizer Inc over its launch of a lower-cost version of the drug.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a ruling by a U.S. administrative court that a J&J patent covering the active ingredient in Remicade was invalid because its concepts were covered in a prior J&J patent.

Representatives of J&J and Pfizer did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the ruling.

Remicade generated U.S. sales of $4.8 billion for J&J in 2016 but faces increased competition from cheaper "biosimilar" copycats, including Pfizer's version, which is sold in the U.S. under the name Inflectra.

Pfizer launched Inflectra in October 2016 after winning a set of rulings that invalidated J&J's patent.

J&J said at the time that it considered Pfizer's maneuver to be an at risk launch, meaning Pfizer would be liable for money damages to J&J if an appeals court reversed the rulings and upheld the patent. (Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Bernadette Baum)