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!

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Generation of foreign exchange is not in public interest

The plaintiff, Bayer sued BDR Pharmaceuticals for injunction restraining infringement of Product Patent no.IN225529 and Process Patent no. IN188419 and for other reliefs. Bayer asserted that the patents cover vardenafil, a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Previously, Bayer sued Ajanta for injunction restraining infringement of the same patents. Justice Gauba of the Delhi High Court in the Ajanta Suit held that Bayer did not merit injunctive relief as the patent in question is a non-worked patent, and exports by Ajanta generated employment and tax revenue for the state, and it was therefore in the public interest to allow them to continue.

In the BDR case, a hearing was held on 14 February, and BDR cited Justice Gauba’s order in Ajanta case to argue that an injunction was not merited in its case either. BDR also argued that its exports earn foreign exchange for India and encourage economic activity. Justice Endlaw rejected the Ajanta order’s precedential value being an ad-interim order and ordered the case to be listed in two days. The court also held that if such parameters are to be adopted, then in each case of a non-working of patent, infringement of the patent would be allowed. The court also noted that the drug is also not a life saving drug.

On 16 February, the BDR case was referred to mediation. It is set to be listed again on 8 March.

Delhi DB raises the bar of burden of proof on the Defendant to establish a credible challenge

A bench comprising of Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva recently passed an order granting an injunction in a patent matter. The DB reversed an order of Justice Manmohan Singh who had denied the injunction.

The Court has also hinted at a presumption of validity of the patents holding that the grant of the patent by the IPO and the USPTO heightens the burden for establishing a credible challenge (see point IV. below)

The principles laid down by the Division Bench are culled out below:

  1. The principles governing patentability of an invention have been summarized as under:
    • it must be the inventor’s own discovery;
    • it should not be a mere verification of what was already known before the date of the patent;
    • it is a manner of new manufacture and includes an improvement and an allied invention;
    • must also be useful;
    • not only the art, process or manner of providing, preparing or making an article but also the article prepared or produced by the manufacture can be patented;
    • should be more than a mere workshop improvement;
    • the improvement or the combination must produce a new result, or a new article or a better or cheaper article than before;
    • a combination of old, known integers may be so combined that by their working inter-relation they produce a new process or improved result;
    • mere collection of more than one integer or things, not involving the exercise of any inventive faculty, would not qualify for the grant of a patent;
    • there must be novelty in the mode of application and the novelty must show invention;
    • the new subject-matter must involve “invention” over what is old;
    • must involve something which is outside the probable capacity of a craftsman;
    • it must not be the obvious to a skilled worker, in the field concerned,
    • it must not be a natural suggestion of what was previously known;
    • Prior public knowledge of the alleged invention would disqualify the grant of a patent and prior public knowledge can be by word of mouth or by publication through books or other media;

     

  2. Merely because the prior art and the subject patent use the same term for a feature does not necessarily mean that the feature is the same. The said term may have two different meanings in the prior art reference and the subject patent. For the invention to be anticipated, the feature disclosed in the prior art must pertain to the same concept as claimed in the patent.
  3. The entire specification and teaching of the prior art must be considered while determining patentability. Mere reference to the abstracts of the prior art documents without considering the teaching of the prior art in the detailed description is erroneous.
  4. The Indian Patent Office and the United States Patent Office have granted the patent and have not found that the patent is obvious in view of the cited prior art. Since these expert bodies have found the patent to be non – obvious, the burden of proof on the Defendant to establish a credible challenge is even greater.

Ericsson on a spree of favourable orders

Delhi High Court passed an interim injunction order in the ongoing case of Telefonktiebolaget LM Ericsson v. Lava International Ltd that prevents Lava from importing, exporting, manufacturing, and selling any mobile phones that use Ericsson’s 8 SEP patents and technology.The defendant is also barred from exporting the impugned goods. The Custom Authorities have also been directed to not release the impugned mobile phones if received from overseas countries under technology of suit patents of the plaintiff. 

The interim order, which is passed on merit, directed defendant to  deposit a sum of Rs.50 crores with the Registrar General of the Court by way of FDR as security amount on or before 20th June, 2016, the operation of interim order shall remain stayed till the final disposal of the main suit. In addition to that, the defendant was also asked to file the statement of accounts for the period of 2011 to 31st May, 2016 before Court by 10th July, 2016 and continue to file the same every quarterly till the final judgment is delivered in the main suit.

Section 3(k)

With regard to Section 3(k), the Court held that, the ultimate object of the invention is an efficient encoder rendering the synthesized speech quality in relation to radio resource needed for transmission is as high as possible. The Court noted that the speech quality is an effect perceptible by the humans and is not just as abstract entity. The judge pronounced that:

 “Prima facie, it appears that these inventions which have resulted in an improvement (technical advancement) in telecommunication technologies and have had a huge effect upon the manner in which these technologies function thereby resulting in practical implementation and actual physical representation Mere mention of an algorithm or a mathematical formula in a patent document should not be inferred to mean that the invention is nothing but an algorithm. The similar issue has already been dealt by this court in a suit filed against INTEX in great details wherein the arguments of doubtfulness were rejected. Thus, no different view is possible in the present case.”

The Court also held that product patents cannot be labelled as algorithm because they are not a set of instructions and are not theoretical in nature. The Court further held the defendant has failed to raise any credible challenge to the suit patents.

As regards the licence agreement, the Court held that the defendant has been consistently delayed execution of the agreement with the plaintiff and in such a case, unlike in trademark and copyright matters, the infringement ought to go in favour of the plaintiff. The Court also held that the plaintiff has been trying to correspond and negotiate with the defendant for the past 4 years and that itself is a huge factor that militates any grant of further time to the defendant , especially in cases of standard essential patents, where a patentee always endeavors to negotiate before filing for an injunction. Moreover, it was held that the fact that the defendant was aware of the plaintiff’s patents but did not challenge the validity goes in favour of injunction.

Concealment of material fact by Ericsson and vacation of injunction on Xiaomi

The Delhi High Court on April 22, 2016 revoked the interim injunction on Xiaomi in the ongoing patent tussle with Ericsson in India. The Court in its judgement has pronounced that there was a greater onus on Ericsson to disclose the material fact- in this case the Multi Product License Agreement which it had with Qualcomm, especially when it was seeking an injunction ex-parte.

On December 9, 2014, the Delhi High Court (DHC) had passed an interim order ordering an interim injunction against Xiaomi.  The Division Bench of the DHC had then allowed Xiaomi allowed to sell its devices subject to certain conditions – to only sell Qualcomm based devices and not Mediatek-chipset based devices.

However, this development emerged as a result of Xiaomi telling the court that it had already got a license for patents (Ericsson’s 3G patent -; IN229632 and IN240471) through Qualcomm, which had in turn secured license from Ericsson. Xiaomi averred that Ericsson had deliberately suppressed the existence and contents of Multi Product License Agreement which it had with Qualcomm wherein Ericsson had granted license in respect of some of its patents to Qualcomm to make, use, sell and import and therefore, the claim of Ericsson that it is not getting royalties is moot. Moreover and additionally, Xiaomi also averred that Ericsson was fully aware that Xiaomi was using Qualcomm’s chips especially in view of the documents and the fact that testing was conducted on a device using Qualcomm’s chipsets.

PATENTED TECHNOLOGY COMES AT A FIXED PRICE

Amidst the ensuing legal dispute over Monsanto’s Bt Cotton seed technology, including an investigation into Monsanto’s licensing deals as per the order of the CCI and the High Court ordering an injunction against Nuziveedu from selling BT cotton manufactured after expiration of its licence agreement with Monsanto, the Central Government has now fixed the sale price of cotton seeds and trait value vide its notification dated 8th March, 2016.

The Cotton Seed Price (Control) Order, 2015 confers to the Central Government the power to fix maximum sale price on cotton seeds. We are still awaiting the reaction it has invoked in the industry, particularly from the owner of the technology.

Visit this space again for a more exhaustive review.

Nuziveedu restrained from selling BT Cotton

In a judgement by the Delhi High Court dated 19th February, 2016, Justice Vipin Sanghi has restrained Nuziveedu from selling BT cotton manufactured after 15th  November,2015. A suit seeking an injunction  was filed by Monsanto in February this year against the sale of BT Cotton seeds and use of Monsanto’s trade mark by Nuziveedu seeds.

Nuziveedu is a former licencee of Monsanto and the licence agreement between the two parties came to an end on 15th November 2015. The Court, in its judgement, has also appointed a Local Commissioner to make an inventory of stocks available with Nuziveedu.

The matter has now been listed for 30th March, 2016.