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Novartis Loses Glivec Case, May Not Move SC (India)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

The Madras High Court has dismissed the petition filed by Swiss pharmaceutical major Novartis against the validity of a specific clause - 3(d) - in the Indian Patents Act that restricted patenting of minor improvements of known molecules. Dismissing the petition, which said that 3 (d) violated the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement and provided "unguided power" to patent controllers to reject applications for patents on the ground that they are not inventions, the court advised Novartis to approach the dispute settlement forum of the World Trade Organization on TRIPS-related complaints. Novartis went to court in February 2006 after its patent application on Glivec, a cancer drug, was rejected by the Patent Office due to the provisions disallowing patenting of minor improvements in known molecules or derivative of a known substance unless they differ significantly in properties with regard to efficacy. "We disagree with this ruling. We, however, may not appeal to the Supreme Court. We are awaiting the full decision to better understand the Court's position. Our actions advanced this essential debate in India - now local and international leaders in both industry and academia recognize the inadequacies of Section 3(d) and are raising serious concerns about the deficiencies of the Indian patent system," Ranjit Shahani, vice-chairman and managing director, Novartis India said. (Click here for more
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