Copyright Patent

Copyright issues in Roche v. Cipla?

2000px-Achtung.svgIt turns out that aside from the myriad patent law issues involved in last week’s Roche v Cipla decision (see Rupali’s posts here: Part 1, Part 2), there may be some copyright considerations as well! It appears that paras 4 to 37 of the judgement are nearly identical to a 2013 note written in the Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property by Shwetasree Majumdar (co-founder of Fidus Law Chambers, also one of our former bloggers) and Eashan Ghosh (of S. Majumdar & Co). Almost the entire 9 pages of the note appear to be lifted and placed into the judgment with only minor edits. Unfortunately, for those who want to compare for themselves, the 2013 note, titled  “Winds of change: F Hoffman-La Roche Ltd & Anr v Cipla Ltd (CS (OS) No. 89/2008, judgment dated 7.9.12)” is behind a paywall. For those who have access, here’s a link. The link to the judgment is here

It’s true that paras 4 to 37 of the decision are a summary of the facts, so I don’t want to bring the house down over this. Quoting my colleague (since I haven’t had a chance to sit with the whole judgment yet myself): “On the bright side, the judgment does proceed with considerable clarity on both patent standards and where the single judge got them wrong”. That being said, there is indeed quite some irony that this type of an issue crops up in an IP judgment!

(H/T to Eashan’s facebook post where he brought this up)

(Author’s edit: An earlier version of this post mistakenly said that Eashan Ghosh is working at Fidus Law Chambers. This has now been corrected)

Update: In a very laudable move, the High Court has now admitted to these issues, apologised to the authors, and expunged these portions of the judgment! See here for more details. 

Swaraj Paul Barooah

Swaraj Paul Barooah

Follow @swarajpb Swaraj has a deep interest in IP, Innovation and Information policy, especially when they involve issues relating to Access to Knowledge, Innovation incentive mechanisms, Digital Freedoms, Open Access, Education, Health and Development. After his BA, LLB (hons) from Nalsar Univ of Law, Hyderabad, he went on to do his LLM from UC Berkeley in 2010. He is now pursuing his J.S.D. degree from UC Berkeley where he is focusing on Drug Innovation Policy and Access to Medicines. Aside from SpicyIP, he is also engaged as a consultant on various IP matters, and is a visiting faculty member at Nalsar Univ of Law. He is also in the process of starting up a New Delhi based "IP, Innovation & Information Policy" focused think-tank.


  1. AvatarO Nomos

    That raises a rather interesting point!
    What are the legal implications (if any) of a judge reproducing substantial portions of copyrighted content without crediting the source?


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