Writ seeking directions for UOI to enforce norms relating to “working” of patents disposed

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed at the Delhi High Court under Article 226 of Indian Constitution as a writ of mandamus (Shamnad Basheer Vs. Union of India (UOI) & Others) seeking directions for the Union of India (UOI) to perform their statutory duty to enforce norms relating to “working” of patents under Section 146 read with Rule 131 of the Patents Act.

The Court had, vide an order dated 15th March, 2018, directed the union of India to place before the Court a reasonable timeline within which amendments as may be deemed necessary for strict implementation of the working statement requirement be effected with the consultation of stakeholders.

A Stakeholder consultation meeting in this regard has already taken place at Delhi, on 6th of April 2018. The UOI has proposed approximately 11 months to have any proposed amendment notified in the Form (Form 27) and the rules.

The proposed timelines by the Union were accepted by the court and the writ Petition has been disposed off vide an order dated 23rd April 2018. The ministry was also directed to make every effort to ensure that there is no deviation in the same and the matter is treated in right earnest and given the seriousness which it deserves to be accorded to it.

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Injunction granted even when the Patent was under challenge

Pfizer Inc. filed a suit for permanent injunction restraining infringement of Indian patent no. IN209250 (which covers and claims the commercial product Sunitinib) and IN268331 (which covers the claims the commercial product Tigecycline) against Nagesh Palepu and others. The Defendants list Tigecycline and Sunitinib on their website in their list of pipeline products.

The Defendant argued that the patent is under credible challenge as two post grant oppositions and a revocation are pending in respect of the Patent and that the registration of the patent do not lead to presumption of validity. The Court did not agree with the Defendant and held that if the registration of a patent is not a proof of its validity, it is certainly not a proof to its invalidity. The Court granted a preliminary injunction holding that the balance conveniences is in favour of the plaintiff and if the injunction is not granted, it will suffer irreparable lose and injury.

Request for examination cannot be filed beyond the prescribed time of 48 months

Sphaera Pharma, Pte.’s, writ petition, seeking to restore the Indian Patent Application No. 3584/DELNP/2015 has been dismissed by the Delhi High Court. Earlier, the Petitioner had failed to file the request for examination within the prescribed time i.e. within a period of 48 months from the priority date (on or before 05.10.2016) and this resulted in abandonment of the application under Section 11B. The petitioner filed a petition at the IPO, requesting that the status of its Indian Patent Application be reviewed. However, the same was not considered by the IPO.

Aggrieved, the petitioner filed the present Writ petition. The Court held that it is apparent from the language of Section 11B (1) of the Patents Act that consideration of any application for examination beyond the stipulated period is not prescribed. The Court  held that a plain reading of Section 11B(1) of the Patents Act and Rule 24B of the Rules clearly indicates that there is no scope for considering a request for examination beyond the prescribed period of 48 months from the date of application.

The counsel appearing for the petitioner referred to Rule 138 of the Rules and contended that the Controller of Patents retained the power to extend the time for a period of one month in certain cases. The Court found the contention unmerited. The Delhi High Court held that , it is candid from the reading that  recourse to Rule 138 of the Rules is not available to extend the time prescribed under Rule 24B of the Rules, which expressly excludes its application to Sub-rules (1), (5) and (6) of Rule 24B of the Rules. Moreover, in terms of Rule 138(2) of the Rules, any request for extension of time has to be made before the expiry of such time as prescribed in the Rules. Therefore, even if the express language of Rule 138 of the Rules is ignored, the benefit of Rule 138 is not available to the petitioner as no such application for extension of time was made prior to expiry of the prescribed time (that is, prior to 05.10.2016). In view of the above, the petition was held to be unmerited and accordingly dismissed.

 

“Disturbing Trend” Of Long Interim Orders In IPR Suits

The issue of long and delayed interim orders attracted the Supreme Court’s (SC) attention in a Petition challenging an order passed by the Delhi High Court in march this year (In M/S. INTEX TECHNOLOGIES (INDIA) LTD. & ANR.  VERSUS M/S. AZ TECH (INDIA) & ANR).

The Apex Court noticed that the order, despite being an interim order was a decision based on the merits of the case. The respondents had filed the suit seeking a permanent injunction against the appellants restraining them from using the mark “AQUA‟ in respect of mobile phones / cellular phones.

It was held by the court that improper and unexplained delay, particularly in IPR cases is fatal to an application for an interlocutory injunction.

The court notes that the interim order is virtually a decision on merits of the suit. According to the Court this is a disturbing trend which the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court should take note of. The SC has ordered the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court to report  total number of pending IPR suits, in the following manner:

  1. Divided into different categories;
  2. stage of each suit; and
  3. the period for which injunction/interim orders held/holding the field in each of the suits.

The Registrar General of the Delhi High Court will also indicate to the Court a reasonable way of ensuring  speedy disposal of the suits involving intellectual property rights which are presently pending.

 

“Hot tubbing” for expert witness by the DHC

The Delhi High Court (DHC) in the Micromax Vs. Ericsson case, based on the suggestions exchanged by the parties and considering the procedure adopted by the Federal Courts in Australia and in the United Kingdom, would be adopting the “hot tubbing” procedure to facilitate appreciation of expert technical evidence, in a shortened procedure.

The Court may devise a slightly modified hot tubbing procedure for the present case, considering the facts of the case.

 

 

DHC maintains the injuction on Cipla For Onbrez

The Delhi High Court (DHC) by its decision continues to bar Cipla Ltd from selling copies of Novartis AG’s drug Onbrez in India.

An appeal was filed by Cipla against an order passed by Justice Manmohan Singh in January 2015 which restrained Cipla from selling copies of Onbrez (indacaterol). In the Appeal, the Court has maintained the decision on January 2015.

Stay tuned for a detailed report!

Writ for Enzalutamide admitted by the DHC

The Regents of University of California, has filed a writ against the order of the Controller refusing the grant of an application filed by them in India, covering the drug product Enzalutamide (Xtandi). On 2nd March 2017 the matter was listed before Hon’ble Mr Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva of the Delhi High Court (DHC) and Mr Chidambaram made the following arguments on behalf of the Petitioner:-

  1. That the present Writ Petition has been filed against the common order dated 8th November 2016 allowing the five pre-grant oppositions, rejecting the Petitioner’s Patent and the said order has been passed in gross violation of the principles of Natural Justice;
  2. That the Patent Application which is the subject matter of the Writ Petition has been granted Patent in around 50 countries;
  3. Further, the marketing approval has been granted in around 75 countries;
  4. That the patent applicant had filed evidence affidavits of three witnesses including the two inventors. However, the impugned order grossly erred in not considering or even referring to the evidence filed by the patent applicant.

In view of the above, the Hon’ble Judge has issued notice in the Writ Petition, returnable on 2nd May 2017.

Business Standard and http://www.india.com reported as to what transpired in Court on 2nd March 201, and the same can be accessed here:

http://wap.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/hc-seeks-reason-for-denial-of-prostrate-cancer-drug-patent-117030500251_1.html

http://www.india.com/news/agencies/hc-seeks-reason-for-denial-of-prostrate-cancer-drug-patent-1894207/

Stay tuned for more updates!