On February 27, 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (in a victory for WLF) overturned a district court decision that threatened to cut short patent rights granted to pharmaceutical companies under the Hatch-Waxman Act. The appeals court rejected the district court’s rationale, under which generic companies would have had little difficulty avoiding patent infringement actions by merely altering one of the inactive ingredients of the patented product. The appeals court agreed with WLF’s argument that by assigning too restrictive a definition of what constitutes the chemical substance protected by a patent, the district court undermined patent rights and thereby significantly reduced the economic incentives for companies to invest the vast sums necessary to develop new life-saving products.