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Mar 03, 2009, 11.53 AM IST
A solution to drug-maker Roche's dispute with Cipla over anti-infective drug Valcyte will take a while. The Supreme Court has asked Roche not to push for an injunction against Cipla till the Chennai patent office clears the case.
A solution to drugmaker Roche's dispute with Cipla over anti-infective drug Valcyte will take a while. The Supreme Court has asked Roche not to push for an injunction against Cipla till the Chennai patent office clears the case.
The Patent fight
Swiss drug maker Roche believes its anti-infective drug Valcyte deserves a patent. This will allow it to sue Cipla for patent infringement. But it will have to wait a while, before it can take legal recourse. The Supreme Court has said Roche will have to defend its patent at the Chennai Patent Office. This, after an NGO opposed the patent with a post-grant motion, saying the patent would grant Roche a monopoly, making an essential drug unaffordable.
Roche Vs Cipla
- Pre-grant opposition dismissed by patent office
- Post-grant opposition to be heard by same patent office
- Roche won trademark infringement suit
Analysts believe Roche is on a strong wicket. One, the NGO had opposed Roche's original application for the patent itself, but this was later dismissed by the patent office and this second opposition will be heard by the same Patent Office. Two, The Mumbai High Court had ruled in favour of Roche in a trademark infringement suit, forcing Cipla to change its drug's name from Valcept to Valgan. If Roche prevails at the patent office, it can go ahead and sue Cipla for patent infringement. But some analysts believe Cipla has a good chance.
In a post-grant opposition, the issue will be argued from the pricing perspective, as a patented drug is always more expensive than a generic drug. There's some precedent as well. Cipla gained an upper hand over Roche in their patent battle over cancer drug Tarceva, when the Delhi High Court denied Roche an injunction on the grounds that Cipla's version was priced lower than Roche's, and was in the interest of the larger public.
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