New Delhi: The Delhi high court has reserved its verdict on a dispute between pharma firms Novartis AG and Cipla Ltd over manufacturing of the drug Indacaterol, used for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Justice Manmohan Singh reserved the judgement after hearing detailed arguments on behalf of both the firms. Novartis had moved the high court saying it holds the patents for the Indacaterol maleate salt as well as the manufacturing process for the drug, which is sold in India as an inhalation powder and inhaler under the trademark name of “Onbrez" through its licencee Lupin Ltd since 2010.

Cipla had this year started manufacture and sale of Indacaterol powder under the name “Unibrez". It had later changed the name of the product to “Indaflo" pursuant to a November order of the high court on a trademark infringement plea by Novartis.

In its latest petition, Novartis sought to permanently restrain Cipla from manufacturing Indacaterol in any form and selling it in India. It also sought damages and payment for infringing the patented pharmaceutical product.

Cipla in its reply filed before the high court argued that the medicine sold by Novartis is too expensive and is sold only to government hospitals and is therefore not easily available to the public.

It has also given a representation to the Centre to revoke the exclusive patent rights granted to Novartis, claiming that the pharma firm was not working the patent in India.

Novartis argued it is not obligated to manufacture the drug in India. It also said that Cipla was “trying to commercialise" the drug and use the formula which had been developed by Novartis after spending huge funds in research.

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