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Apex court to rule on Novartis cancer drug patent case tomorrow

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on March 31, 2013

The Supreme Court will pronounce tomorrow its verdict on Swiss pharma giant Novartis AG’s plea for getting its blood cancer drug Glivec patented in India and restraining Indian companies from manufacturing generic drugs.

A Bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai had reserved the verdict on December 4 after marathon arguments spanning over two and half months.

Novartis approached the apex court challenging the order of Chennai-based Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), which rejected its appeal against patent department’s decision on Glivec.

The Comptroller-General of Patent and Design had denied patent to Glivec on several grounds including its alleged failure to meet stipulations under Sections 3(d) and 3(b) of the Indian Patent Law.

Section 3(d) restricts patents for already known drugs unless the new claims are superior in terms of efficacy while Section 3(b) bars patents for products that are against public interest and do not demonstrate enhanced efficacy over existing products.

Some Indian pharmaceutical companies and social organisations had also approached the apex court against Novartis claiming that the multinational company is making an attempt to “evergreen” its patent right.

Ever-greening of patent right is a strategy allegedly adopted by the innovators having patent rights over products to renew them by bringing in some minor changes such as adding new mixtures or formulations. It is done when their patent is about to expire.

A patent on the new form could give Novartis a 20-year monopoly on the drug.

Published on March 31, 2013
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