I posted a note earlier in Spicy IP Tidbits about Novartis’ alpha crystalline Glivec (imatinib) patent which has recently come to light. This application was filed back in 2004, before the changes to Indian patent law, and the subsequent (and ongoing) fight with the IPAB, etc.
(Click here for a list of earlier posts about Novartis and Glivec on SpicyIP.)
For those who aren’t aware, Novartis has other patents covering imatinib in similar ways. Take for example, WO 2007023182 for Delta and Epsilon Crystal Forms of Imatinib Mesylate.
From a strictly Indian perspective this might seem to border on the futile (in light of the restrictions imposed by section 3(d)). In fact, this looks set to be the case in some other countries as well (Philippines, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh).
However, Novartis really has no other choice but to do this – the potential ‘upside’ is too high in all of those countries which will grant the patent applications, and the potential ‘downside’ (of allowing a competitor to obtain these patents first) is too great.
Also – who knows? Perhaps these crystalline forms will meet the ‘enhancement of the known efficacy’ test. If I was Novartis, I’d be learning from the current litigation over the beta form in preparation for my efforts on these other forms.