Lawyers for Swiss drug maker Novartis AG, fighting a denied patent on its cancer drug Gleevec, asked for specific guidelines to remove subjectivity in Indian patent rules at the Madras High Court.
Soli Jehangir Sorabjee, Novartis’s counsel, contended that the use of terms ‘efficacy’ and ‘enhancement’ in section 3(d) of the Indian Patents Act was subjective in nature. He sought broad guidelines for ‘efficacy’ in determining patentability. The section denies patents to modified versions of existing drugs.
“Guidelines are necessary to prevent any divergence on exercise of power. In the present form, it is bound to differ from person to person and case to case,” he said before judges R. Balasubramanian and Prabha Sridevan.
The Novartis case has come under the spotlight after a government report on patents by a committee headed by scientist R.A. Mashelkar was withdrawn last month over charges that it had reproduced verbatim material from an earlier report funded by a group led by Novartis.
(Bhuma Shrivastava in New Delhi contributed to this story.)