LitigationPatent

Proper Interpretation of Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act Could Save Incremental Innovations of Existing Pharmaceutical Substances

The landmark judgment of the Supreme Court of India in Novartis AG & Ors. .v. Union of India & Ors. AIR 2013 SC 1311, a case that dealt with the patenting of a polymorphic form of the anti-cancer drug Imatinib mesylate, created a furor at the international level, particularly within the pharmaceutical and drug discovery communities. This fear and confusion have only been exacerbated by subsequent decisions by Indian courts rejecting patents for a series of pharmaceutical substances. Most of these decisions centered on section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act, which was introduced in 2005. In the midst of these controversies, it has gone unnoticed that patented drugs are becoming more common at the commercial level in India. The country is slowly moving to an exclusive patent regime for new drug substances similar to that of major markets like the United States and Europe. Recognition of this trend has been obfuscated by the controversy over section 3(d).

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