The order of March 2012 relating to the granting of a compulsory licence by the Indian Patent Office in favour of Natco Pharma against Bayer’s patent for sorafenib tosylate and other actions prior to that sparked a debate on whether the India’s patent laws are compliant with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.
Affirmation of the order by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) – except for an increase in the royalty rate – in March 2013 added fuel to the debate. The Indian Supreme Court’s decision of April 2013 to ultimately reject the patent application of Novartis for its cancer drug, Glivec, marked the peak of the debate.
Many multinational companies, and the US government, have expressed concerns about India’s intellectual property rights (IPR) laws and patents regime, especially section 3(d) of the Patents Act. It has also been alleged that India does not provide a strong enforcement regime regarding enforcement of patents.
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G Deepak Sriniwas is the head of the patent prosecution practice at LexOrbis
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