Guest Post: IPAB dismisses challenge to Kibow’s product patent

Spadika Jayaraj, a 3rd year student from NLSIU, Bangalore brings us a crisp update on the Kibow litigation. Prashant had earlier mentioned the oddity of selective reporting that was happening around it with news reports focusing on the Kibow patent that was rejected. In this post, Spadika looks at the Kibow patent that was upheld. This is her first submission to our 2nd Annual SpicyIP Fellowship applicant series.

IPAB Ruling Dismisses La Renon’s challenge to Kibow’s Product Patent on Renadyl

Kibow-LogoKibow, a US-based start-up pharmaceutical company has won the patent litigation initiated against it by Ahemadabad-based La Renon Healthcare Pvt Ltd. The suit was regarding the entry of Kibow’s product named ‘Renadyl’, which is a dietary supplement that reduces the need for kidney patients to undergo dialysis.

Back in 2009, Kibow had been granted both a product patent and a process patent in India for Renadyl. A product patent is granted for the final product, while a process patent is granted to protect the process of creating a new or old product. La Renon Healthcare, which sells a similar drug under the name ‘Cudo’ in the Indian market, had filed a Revocation Petition in regards these patents, in front of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board. Among La Renon’s arguments were that the product was not original and that it was a mere admixture.

The IPAB had earlier revoked the process patent that has been granted to Kibow. However, with the recent ruling, the IPAB has rejected La Renon’s arguments regarding the product patent, thereby dismissing the revocation petition. While the rejection of the weaker process patent will not affect Kibow materially since the final product is now protected, this ruling is certainly bad news for La Renon. Kibow had earlier sued La Renon for patent infringement in the Madras High Court, but the suit had been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. With this new order by the IPAB in their favour, Kibow plans to rectify the infringement petition and initiate proceedings again.

The decision is demonstrative of the IPAB’s commitment to foster innovation through the patent system. Further, in light of the legitimate concern that a strong patent regime in the drug industry is likely to encourage pharmaceutical companies to hike up the price of their products, it is interesting to note that Kibow’s Renadyl is cheaper (at Rs.5,000 for 40 tablets) than La Renon’s Cudo (at Rs. 3,500 for 30 tablets) despite Kibow having a patent on the drug.

[References: Livemint, Business Standard, TechCorpLegal]

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