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Gopal Subramanium to represent Novartis

Joe C Mathew  |  New Delhi 

Patent case of the Swiss pharma major will be his first private assignment after resigning as Solicitor General.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who resigned as Solicitor General last month, has taken up his first private assignment. Subramanium will represent Swiss pharmaceutical multinational in an appeal filed against the denial of patent protection for the company’s blood cancer drug in the Supreme Court.

Interestingly, Subramanium is taking up the job that was earlier handled by Rohinton Nariman, who has taken over as the new Solicitor General.

The Supreme Court (the bench consisting of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma) had heard Novartis’ argument for three days last week and will resume the hearing in September.

Key issues for determination in case
1. What does “efficacy” really mean? Does it mean therapeutic efficacy or would it include any kind of advantage possessed by a pharmaceutical derivative including heat stability etc? 
2. What is the known substance against which the new form has to be compared under section 3(d), the public interest clause in the Patent Act? 
3. Can a pharmaceutical substance be “inventive” and still flunk the section 3(d) test? 
4. Does the excessive price of a drug constitute a violation of public order and morality?
Source: spicyIP

The case is keenly watched by the and civil society groups as it, for the first time, deals with the legal interpretation of the patent law.

The Indian patent law has a clause which says patents cannot be granted for mere improvements on a known substance if it does not result in significant improvement in efficacy.

The patent application for Glivec was rejected under this clause.

According to reports, Subramanium’s decision to quit the post of Solicitor General had come after the government asked Nariman, then a private lawyer, to represent the telecom minister in the Supreme Court in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

First Published: Mon, August 15 2011. 00:10 IST