The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from a generic drug company over the patent for the antidepressant Zoloft, in a case that sought to speed up development of a cheaper substitute.

Justices declined without comment to review a lower court judgment for Pfizer Inc., maker of the popular antidepressant. That decision had been a split one, however, with one judge complaining that brand-name drug manufacturers had tried to delay the release of generic drugs. Generic medicines are usually cheaper than the brand names.