The Intellectual Property Appellate Board has rejected the patent claim Novartis AG had filed, for its cancer drug Glivec in India. The Swiss drugmaker said it was reviewing the decision and will look at various options available to it.
The company holds intellectual property rights for the drug in nearly 40 countries.
The company may challenge the Indian patent tribunal's verdict, according to sources. It may challenge the ruling at the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) forum of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Additionally it may also challenge the ruling in Indian courts.
At the heart of the dispute are issues involving questions about what constitutes innovation, whether cheaper non-patented versions of drugs can help more patients access expensive medicines and India's willingness to fall in line with global provisions to protect intellectual property.
Adding another dimension to the matter is the Mashelkar report that appears to support Novartis on the larger issue of patenting incremental innovations.
However, the report's conclusions are being challenged as they appear to use language as similar to that of a group funded by drug companies outside India.