The net result of sections 68 and 69 is that unless a license/assignment or any other interest in a patent (mortgage etc) is “in writing” and “registered” in the register maintained by the Controller of Patents, it is not valid. Section 69 (5) however provides that in some cases, the court/controller may (after giving its reasons in writing) admit a “non recorded” patent license/assignment.
So how does this impact the Roche vs Cipla case?
The patent in suit is jointly owned by OSI Pharma Inc and Pfizer Products Inc. It is licensed for use/sale etc to Roche (the main defendant in the case). What if this license agreement is not recorded under section 69? Clearly, unless the court otherwise directs, Roche’s interest in the patent is not valid and it cannot bring the law suit against Cipla. Rather the suit will have to be taken over by OSI/Pfizer Products. I’m guessing that the license was duly recorded under section 69–else Cipla’s counsel would have certainly raised this issue.