Pharma verdicts bring major changes in patents

Published: 08th April 2013 08:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th April 2013 08:28 AM   |  A+A-

The recent landmark judgements by the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court in the Novartis and the Merck cases respectively have brought about largescale changes in the global pharma industry relating to the manufacture, marketing and even patent protection laws.

Several countries are set to adopt the Indian laws on patents, particularly Section 3 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 in the light of the apex court judgment in the Novartis case.

Argentina and Philippines have already passed similar laws while Brazil, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are mulling changes to the existing laws.  India, Brazil and China together account for 20 per cent of the global pharma spending, which is set to go up to around 40 per cent by 2016.

Annually, the global pharma market is worth   $400 billion. Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers expects India’s pharmaceutical market to grow to at least $48.8 billion by 2020.

“First and foremost, we should cut this talk  about India being unfair towards Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and so foreign investment will go down. The Supreme Court judgment relates only to Section 3(d), which is one of its kind provision in patent acts worldwide. It prohibits patenting in perpetuity under a bogus pretext,“ says counsel Pratibha Singh, who successfully argued both the cases.

She clarified that 70 per cent of the cases  relate to new patents  and original research which remain unaffected. What the courts have decried is the tendency to file new patents for  “known substances“ by tweaking the composition. According to Section 3(d),” mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance or of the mere use of a known process, machine or apparatus “ will not qualify as a reason for a new patent.


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