The Supreme Court judgment on the Novartis-Glivec case is remarkable because it has gone beyond the specific technical and legal issues surrounding patents and has put the matter in a much larger political and economic perspective. The deeper implication of the judgment is that it is not only justified to deny patents when incremental innovation is trivial as in the Glivec case. The judgment has linked the entire question of patenting with net benefits to society and has highlighted the relevance of specific conditions of a country for deciding the appropriate patent regime. What the judgment says and what it implies has tremendous significance for the patent regimes in developing countries beyond the secondary patenting issues.
Bangalore International Centre had arranged a panel discussion on the above subject titled “The Novartis-GlivecJudgement” on Sunday, 28th April, 2013 at 6.30 PM. The panelists were Prof. S L Rao, Former DG of NCAER, Dr. AdityaSondhi, Advocate, Karnataka High Court & Supreme Court and Mr. Kishore Rao, Managing Trustee, Karunashraya. The discussion was moderated by Hon’ble Justice S RajendraBabu, Former Chief Justice of India.
In his presentation, Prof. Rao emphasized that Indian pharmaceutical industry has played a great role in making available life-saving drugs at an affordable cost to the general public by taking a generic nature. He felt that the judgment in the Novartis case need not necessarily have an impact on FDI in pharmaceutical industry in India. Dr. Sondhi explained in clear and cogent terms the provisions of the Indian Patent Act and the finer legal points adumbrated in the judgment of the Supreme Court. He stressed that this would effectively block efforts of multinationals to corner the market through cosmetic and trivil innovations (“evergreening”). Mr Kishore Rao, whole-heartedly welcomed the judgment in the light of its beneficial impacts on the availability of drugs at a cheaper cost to the needy patients.
The Q & A session generated a lot of discussion in the impact of the decision on FDI, but the consensus was that it would be negligible.