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Apr 03, 2013 at 06:50pm IST

Novartis verdict will encourage genuine innovation: Prathiba M Singh

Prathiba M Singh, advocate for Ranbaxy and Cipla, fought the Glivec patent case against Novartis. She joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the legal and moral compulsions behind this courtroom battle and the significance of the Supreme Court's decision for Indian pharma firms and the people of the country.

Q. Madam, In simple language what is the significance of this judgement. Asked by: Ashish

Novartis verdict will encourage genuine innovation: Prathiba M Singh

Advocate Prathiba M Singh joined IBNLive readers on the significance of denial of patent for Glivec to Novartis.

A. The significance of this judgement is that it will encourage genuine innovation and less efforts would be spent on applying for variation patents. My experience in patent litigation shows that in almost every case there are multiple patents. This judgement will reduce that.

Q. Will the decision not adversely affect the R&D projects in India? No doubt, Novartis can't claim process patent, but it certainly had a right to be considered for product patent. Your views.. Asked by: Alok Madan

A. Innovators will continue to get product patents. This judgement deals with a situation where the patent being sought is for "new form of a known substance". This judgement does not apply where completely new inventions are the subject matter of the patent application.

Q. Is the ruling applicable only to Pharmaceutical patents or can it apply to all patents. Asked by: Samir Patil

A. It will primarily apply to pharmaceutical patents. But since it traces the history of patent law and also of Section 3(d) and being the first major judgement on the new Act by the Apex court, it carries tremendous weight.

Q. Does the ruling give clarity on what kind of change constitutes innovation which can be patented Asked by: Samir Patil

A. In the context of pharmaceutical substances which are new forms of known substances, those inventions which result in significant enhancement of therapeutic efficacy can be patented.

Q. In laymen terms,How do you see the aftermath of SC's decision affecting cancer patient in India. Will it be be costing less? Asked by: sumit

A. This particular product i.e., Imatinib Mesylate will cost less because the patent has been rejected and multiple companies are making it.

Q. Pls give your comment on S.124 of patent Act which bars advocates from appearing before patent office. Its been recently declared as void by Madras HC. Asked by: Ramachandran

A. I have not read the judgement. But as per my own understanding, advocates who have experience in patent litigation ought not to be barred from appearing before the patent office.

Q. What is the implication on medical research industry? Asked by: Dr Chandrashekara S

A. Medical research should become robust and greater focus should be there on innovating new products. Indian companies should partner with Universities etc, in order to encourage research.

Q. Ranbaxy is a Japanese owned Indian company. Does this make any benefit to Japanese? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I would not comment. I think it is a listed company in India.

Q. There are many pharma Clinical trails happening in INDIA. If any of these result in an innovative product for the MNC pharma companies do we have a right for a preferential pricing since trails have taken place on INDIANS ? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. There is nothing in Patent law for any such preference. That may be a question of policy.

Q. Does this decision give a chance to Indian Pharma companies to market the generic product to overseas market also? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. It only permits Indian companies to sell and export in those countries where there is no patent on Imatinib Mesylate or where the patent is being challenged.

Q. Understand China has allowed patent to Glivec. How their population gets not affected by the high pricing of the product? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I am not familiar with the patent laws of China. Hence cannot comment.

Q. Congrats on your efforts. Does this create a threat of MNC pharmas denying access to their future innovative products to India? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I don't think so.

Q. Does this decision give a chance to Indian Pharma companies to market the generic product to overseas market also? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I have already replied to this.

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