SpicyIP Weekly Review (28 September – 4 October 2015)

spicyip weekly review

Highlight of the Week

This week’s highlight has to be Madhulika’s excellent two-part post on the Indian Patent Office’s rejection of Pfizer’s Torfacitinib patent application, for the rheumatoid arthritis drug. In Part I, she examines whether the application is anticipated by prior art where the claimed prior art is not for the same substance but for an enantiomer. Somewhere along the line, she gives us an explanation of chirality and enantiomerism that’s so lucid that it had me wondering why she was blogging for us when she could be raking in the moolah taking chemistry lessons in the increasingly lucrative IIT-JEE coaching industry.

In Part II, she tackles the Section 3(d) aspect of the rejection, in which the Controller held that Pfizer had failed to provide data to show enhanced therapeutic efficacy. She also addresses a curious part of the decision, which seems to point out a violation of Section 8, dealing with similar applications in foreign jurisdictions.

We then had Rupali inform us about the IPA’s letter to Nirmala Sitharaman on data exclusivity, in which they responded to a communication from American senators to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Finance Penny Pritzker asking them to ensure that India is pressured into implementing the “right” kind of IP policy in the US-India Bilateral talks that began last week. The IPA’s letter strongly opposes foreign pressure, and seeks to maintain status quo as far as the Indian legal position on data exclusivity is concerned. In her post, Rupali also goes on to provide a brief overview of the broader debate surrounding data exclusivity, and the international legal framework governing it.

Swaraj then announced a four-day youth workshop on IP, Public Health and A2M to be organised in association with and immediately after the Global Congress on IP and the Public interest in Delhi this December. Here are the highlights: apply before 26 October if you’re under 40, and if selected you’ll get full funding for participation in both the workshop and the Global Congress.

Swaraj also told us about Tata Trusts extending their support to the Open Source Pharmaceutical Foundation, which he describes as “Linux for Drugs”. In his post, he describes the need for openness in pharmaceutical innovation both at the domestic and the international levels, and expresses his appreciation for programs such as this.

Finally, we had Kiran posting a tidbit about Heidi Williams, an Assistant Professor at MIT with research interests in healthcare innovation receiving the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship this year. Kiran notes that this will be a huge shot in the arm not only for Williams, but also for IP scholarship generally.

International Developments

  1. An East Texas judge has thrown out 168 separate claims filed by the patent troll, eDekka.
  2. Australia and the US are rumoured to be very close to agreeing on the length of patent protection to be afforded to biologics, in a move that will all but seal the TPP.
  3. Argentinian lawmakers are proposing an extension to the copyright term on photographs from 20 years post-publication to 70 years post-death.

Balaji Subramanian

Balaji is a third year student at NALSAR, Hyderabad. He is currently an editor of the Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law. He is fascinated by technology law and IP law, and is an active member of NALSAR's Technology Law Forum. When he isn't doing law school things, he wanders the country looking for quizzes to participate in. He can be emailed at [email protected]

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