Cipla’s Alka Mehta and M Adinarayana of Natco Pharma trade tips on safeguarding pharmaceutical patents. By Vandana Chatlani

Alka Mehta, Head of Intellectual Property Strategy, Cipla: Pharmaceutical patent litigation is a little different from other patent litigations. It requires a high level of technical understanding for judges and this may take time. This may be somewhat time consuming, plus as we all know, the high courts are extremely busy, so even though these matters are given priority, it’ll be months before you have a complete hearing which might impact generic companies. However, it is worth mentioning here that the Supreme Court’s decision on the Glivec case took time, but resulted in a well-reasoned judgment. The Glivec case proves that the Indian Supreme Court will not support any frivolous patents which may lead to the evergreening of patents. Many other countries are now planning to incorporate similar provisions in their patent laws.

Training, briefing and special technical understanding of pharmaceuticals is required for these cases. In a few cases, appointing experts can certainly be of help. I believe the think tank (chaired by Justice Prabha Sridevan) which was recently set up, is drafting a national intellectual property rights policy proposing certain reforms in this area. As per initial reports, the think tank has already proposed a separate patent court and/or a separate bench to hear patent matters. This would definitely benefit pharma companies dealing with patent matters.

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