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Novartis’s challenge on validity of Indian patent laws was put down by Indian High Court August 7, 2007

Posted by mais in Drugs, India, IP Systems, Litigation, Patent, TRIPS.
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Swiss pharma giant, Novartis, faced another blow in India, when Chennai High Court rejected its writ petition challenging the validity of Indian Patent Laws.

Novartis had sought to declare Section 3 (d) of the Indian Patents Act as substituted by Patents (Amendment) Act (2005) as being “unconstitutional as it is vague, arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the constitution (right to equality).”  The section denies patent protection to the discovery of new form of known substance which does not result in enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance.

Novartis also rasied concerns over the discretion of patent authorities to define and determine the “enhancement of efficacy”. The Bench rejected the concerns by saying that the amended section cannot be invalidated solely on ground that there was a mere possibility of misuse of power.

Since Novartis’s 1993 patent effectively disclosed both the free base, imatinib, and the acid-addition salt, imatinib mesylate and the crystalline forms of imatinib mesylate. The crystalline forms of imatinib mesylate claimed in the application in question does not differ significantly in properties with respect to efficacy. In fact, with respect to efficacy, the current specification of Novartis itself admits that wherever β-crystals are used the imatinib free base or other salts can be used. The various forms of imatinib mesylate can, therefore, very well be considered the “same substance” under section 3(d) of the Patents Act.   view of IP practitioner Swarup Kumar

Novartis unlikely to challenge High court ruling in Indian Supreme Court. Novartis faced first setback  in January last year, when the Indian Patent Office rejected a patent application of its leukaemia drug Gleevec. It had filed appeal against the patent office decision to Intellectual Property Appellate Board and a writ petition in Chennai High Court.

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