The patent litigation bug bites Indian pharma companies: Symed sues Glenmark

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In a sign of yet more litigation between Indian pharmaceutical companies, the Hyderabad based Symed Labs Ltd., represented by Fidus Law Chambers has sued the Mumbai based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Laboratories before the Delhi High Court for allegedly infringing two of its patents: 213062 & 213063. The ‘062 patent was granted for “Novel intermediates for linezolid and related compounds” while the ‘063 patent was granted for “A novel process for the preparation of linezolid and related compounds”. 
Incidentally, both these patents were also the subject of two different patent infringement lawsuits filed by Symed against Optimus Pharma Pvt. Ltd on July 3, 2012 and against Sharon Bio-Medicine on July, 13, 2012. The Delhi High Court had granted interim injunctions in both cases restraining Optimus Pharma Pvt. Ltd. and Sharon Medicine from infringing the patents in question. Rajiv had written a detailed post on the Optimus lawsuit over here and I recommend reading it. 
In the present case, Glenmark had already filed caveats before the Delhi High Court in anticipation of the lawsuit and was thus present before the Court on the first day of hearing, pre-empting any interim injunction orders. Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, declined to grant an ex-parte interim injunction and has posted the matter for further hearing on May 29th, 2012 after Glenmark has filed its replies to Symed’s application. 
From a reading of the order available over here, Symed has claimed to have found certain compounds in Glenmark’s product which indicate that it has used Symed’s patented process. Glenmark for its part has accused Symed of not informing the court that it was aware of Glenmark manufacturing linezolid since 2005 and that Glenmark was also purchasing the linezolid from Symed as late as 18th April, 2012. 
In this backdrop, it is interesting to note, that both Symed and Glenmark have been magnets for patent litigation in the recent past. Apart from the suit filed by Symed against Optimus and Sharon Biosciences in 2012, Symed was itself sued, in 2011, for patent infringement by Vifor International, a European company, for infringement of patent no. 221536, which was granted for “Water soluble iron carbohydrate complex and a process for producing water soluble iron carbohydrate complex”. At the time Symed had been at the receiving end of an ex-parte interim injunction from the Delhi High Court and we had blogged about the same over here. As for Glenmark, it has been at the receiving end of a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Merck for the infringement of its patents covering Januvia. Madhulika had written a post covering the case against Glenmark over here
Apart from these lawsuits, there was also the patent litigation between two other Indian pharmaceutical companies, Issar Pharmaceuticals and Ind-Swift, which we had blogged about over here. The increasing patent litigation between Indian pharmaceutical companies, is a sign of increasing competition between pharmaceutical companies and surprisingly it is the smaller companies which are more aggressive in suing for patent infringement. 
All in all, it’s a good time to be a patent lawyer in India.

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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