Key recent cases


Abhishek Malhotra

Several interesting decisions in intellectual property law have been seen in India since the last report, making it difficult to select reportable cases. We have picked out two that are likely to have a big impact.

Bayer v Natco Pharma

As per a widely reported decision, the Controller General of Patents, in March 2012, granted a compulsory licence—the first of its kind under the Patents Act, 1970, in respect of a pharmaceutical product—in favour of Natco Pharma, a Hyderabad-based generics company, for Bayer Corporation’s leading cancer drug, Nexavar (sorafenib). Bayer appealed against the decision before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). The IPAB, in an order of March 5, 2013, upheld the compulsory licence.

The IPAB noted that Bayer sold the drug at an “excessive” price ($5,200 a month) and was able to meet the requirements of only 2 percent of the patient population. Therefore, two of the grounds under Section 84 had been made out by the applicant, namely: (i) that the reasonable requirements of the public with respect to the patented invention have not been satisfied; and (ii) that the patented invention is not available to the public at a reasonably affordable price.

Key cases, India, Bayer v Natco Pharma, NDTV v ICC