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Judgment reserved on Novartis-Cipla patent dispute

Novartis has also sought damages and payment for infringing the patented pharmaceutical product.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | December 17, 2014 1:06:43 am

After hearing detailed arguments from pharma giants Novartis and Cipla, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday reserved its judgment on a dispute over the manufacturing of the drug Indacaterol, used for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Novartis 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 Lupin since 2010.

Earlier this year, Cipla started manufacture and sale of Indacaterol powder and sale under the name “Unibrez”. The firms changed the name of the product to “Indaflo” after orders from the court in November on a plea of trademark infringement by Novartis.

Novartis has now approached the Delhi High court to permanently restrain Cipla from manufacturing Indacaterol in any form and selling it in India. Novartis has also sought damages and payment for infringing the patented pharmaceutical product.

Cipla in its reply filed before the court of Justice Manmohan Singh has 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. Cipla also filed a representation before the ministry of commerce department of industrial policy and Promotion, to revoke the exclusive patent rights granted to Novartis, claiming that Novartis was not working the patent in India. Novartis argued that there was no obligation on the firm to manufacture the drug in India.

It has also said that Cipla was “trying to commercialise” the drug and use the formula which had been developed after Novartis had spent huge funds in its R&D.

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