The Delhi High Court has stayed a decision to revoke the patent granted to Abbott Laboratories’ blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug, Humira (adalimumab).
US-based Abbott had petitioned against the decision by the Indian patent office in this regard, on a complaint by domestic pharma company, Glenmark.
Glenmark had contended that its pre-grant opposition was not considered by the patent office before deciding to grant patent protection to Abbott.
Launched worldwide in 2003, Humira fetched Abbott $4.5 billion in global sales in 2008.
The company had forecast a 25 per cent increase in its worldwide sales in 2009. Abbott is also studying the use of this drug for additional uses.
Abbott told the HC that the patent authority had no power to unilaterally cancel such a decision.
It argued the Intellectual Property Appellate Board and the HC were the right forum to decide if a granted patent had to be revoked or how.
The HC had, 10 days ago, asked the patent office to respond by April 27.
In an unrelated move, the HC here is to also give its verdict on the legality of an increasing trend among drug companies to directly approach it for questioning patent grants. The verdict is scheduled for the coming Monday.
Shamnad Basheer, an intellectual property law expert from the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, said the Abbott case “illustrates the importance of ensuring that patent examiners are screened for their knowledge of the law before being recruited”.