SC rejects patent protection for Novartis cancer drug

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday dismissed Swiss pharmaceutical chain Novartis AG’s petition seeking patent protection for its anti-cancer drug, Glivec (Imatinib mesylate).

The apex court bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai dismissed with cost Novartis’ plea challenging the Intellectual Property Appellate Board’s decision declining the plea for patent of the drug that is used in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia and malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumours.

Novartis AG had claimed that it is the inventor of the beta crystalline form of Imatinib mesylate.

Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Alam said that the claim was “beyond the realm of patents”.

“In whatever way Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act is interpreted, Novartis cannot claim that it is a patent. It fails the test of patentability,” he said.

Upholding Section 3 (d), the court held that the amended portion of this section is only for genuine inventions.

The patent right for the drug was denied to Novartis in 2006 by the Chennai-based Intellectual Property Appellate Board.

The legal battle for the patent of the blood cancer drug is being closely watched by international pharmaceutical firms. Novartis had been fighting a prolonged legal case for the patent of Glivec, a cost effective drug.

Winning such a patent would have barred Indian firms from manufacturing generic drugs.

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