SpicyIP Tidbits


1. Pfizer gets a patent for its anti-HIV drug

Pfizer was recently granted a patent, by the Indian Patent office, for its HIV/AIDS treatment drug – Celzentry. This is a significant victory for Pfizer given the much publicized rejection of patents for several other drugs. Given the huge HIV infected population in India it is expected that this drug will be a major revenue spinner for Pfizer in India. As a result Pfizer’s stock shot up 7.5% on the Indian bourses.

2. Another Eli Lilly patent application is rejected

Eli Lilly’s patent application for an erectile dysfunction drug – Cialis has been rejected by the Indian Patent Office although this drug has been successfully patented in the U.S., E.U. & Japan. Cialis is the second best performer in the erectile dysfunction market after Pfizer’s Viagra. It earned Eli Lilly $971 Million in 2006 from sales in 30 countries. The patent was opposed by Ajanta Pharma who managed to successfully prove that Indian scientists from the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, had synthesised the basic components of the drug in 1970 and had secured a US patent (no: 3,917,599) for their invention five years later. The Patent Office thus rejected Eli Lilly’s application on the grounds of lack of novelty since under Section 3(d) a patent cannot be claimed for a mere new use of an already known substance. Section 3(d) strikes once again! (Readers may remember that Eli Lilly has already been denied a patent for another one of their drugs – Forteo because of the bar under Section 3(d). And of course there is the rejection of patent for Glivec because of Section 3(d).)

3. AstraZeneca’s patent application is rejected

The Indian Patent Office in Delhi has rejected global pharma major, Astra’s, patent application for its lung cancer drug – Iressa on the grounds of ‘known prior use’ – basically Section 3(d). The patent application had been contested by Indian generic major – Natco and J. M. Pharmaceuticals. Once again this drug has been patented elsewhere in the world.

4. Most Indian drug majors too in line for patent protection

The ET reports that out of the 8000 drug patent applications filed in between 95-04 about 40% are by Indian companies.
Ranbaxy Laboratories, India’s largest drug maker, has claimed protection for 112 drugs during the period, including few which are at various stages of clinical development. In addition, Ranbaxy has also filed 30 patents in 2006, including seven for new drug delivery systems (NDDS), which are in advanced stages of development. Similarly, other pharma majors such as Cipla and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories have each sought protection for over 100 drugs.”
The ET Report goes on to warn that in reality the drug discovery pipeline is fast drying up and most of the drug companies are in fact merely tinkering around with existing drugs.

Section 3(d) therefore assumes all the more importance.

5. Sanofi, Abbot file suit against Glenmark

The ET Reports that “France’s largest drug maker Sanofi-Aventis SA and Abbott Laboratories have jointly filed a lawsuit against Glenmark to prevent the Indian company from selling a generic version of its hypertension drug Tarka in the US.”
The two drug majors are seeking a court order blocking Glenmark from selling the drug in the US until the patent expires in 2015.

If in case Glenmark does get the Court ruling in its favour it will have a 180 day exclusive marketing period in the USA.

6. Creativity must for claiming copyright: Indian Supreme Court

The Indian Supreme Court while ruling on a case of copyright infringement in the publishing industry reiterated the fundamentals of copyright law by saying that “novelty or invention or innovative idea is not the requirement for protection of copyright but it does require minimal degree of creativity.” The case was filed by Eastern Book Company alleging infringment of copyright of its law journal Supreme Court Cases by Spectrum Business Support and Regent Data Tech Ltd. The Supreme Court “restrained the respondents from copying head notes, footnotes and editorial notes appearing in their law journals.

7. Danone loses trademark dispute against Wahaha

Danone recently lost its trademark battle against its JV partner in China – Wahaha. Danone seems to be in the habit of getting into trademark disputes with its JV partners. SpicyIP had reported in September that Danone is in a similar dispute with its Indian partner – the Wadia Group, over the ‘Tiger’ trademark.

8. Amul agrees to stop using ‘American Dry Fruit’ trademark

The ET reports the “Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), the manufacturer of Amul products, has agreed to discontinue the use of the trade mark ‘American Dry Fruits’ for the ice-creams it launched in January this year.
GCMMF settled the matter with M H Foods and agreed to discontinue the use of the trade mark, a company statement said here.
Prashant Reddy

Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in academia in India and Singapore. He is also co-author of the book Create, Copy, Disrupt: India's Intellectual Property Dilemmas (OUP).

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