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[e-drug] Novartis files fresh case

E-DRUG: Novartis files fresh case
[Copied as fair use. Thanks to Gopal Dabade for forwarding to E-drug. WB]

THE HINDU, 10th August 2007

High Court stays Novartis appeal 
Special Correspondent 

CHENNAI: All further proceedings on the statutory appeals filed by Novartis, 
challenging the rejection of its patent application, pending before the 
Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) were stayed by the Madras High 
Court on Thursday.

The First Bench comprising Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice P. Jyothimani 
granted the interim relief on a writ petition filed by Novartis AG stating that 
the IPAB had erred in dismissing its plea to exclude its Technical Member S. 
Chandrasekaran from hearing its statutory appeals.
The Bench has posted the matter to September 10 for further proceedings.

Novartis’ application to patent the beta crystalline form of imatinib mesylate 
was rejected by Chennai Patent Office in January 25, 2006. In April 2007, the 
High Court transferred the statutory appeals to the IPAB after a Technical 
Member was appointed and the Board became functional.

When the IPAB took up the appeal for hearing, Novartis sought to exclude Mr. 
Chandrasekaran from the Bench, on the ground that he had filed a 
counter-affidavit in support of the Union of India and the Controller-General 
of Patents and Designs and hence he would be biased against Novartis. In July 
2007, the IPAB rejected the objections. The present writ petition challenges 
the rejection of its objections.

Describing the timing of appointment of Mr. Chandrasekaran as significant, the 
company said the IPAB had erred in rejecting its plea to request the Centre to 
appoint another member in lieu of Mr. Chandrasekaran.

The January 25, 2006 order rejecting Novartis’ patent application was passed by 
the Assistant Controller under the aegis of the erstwhile Controller-General 
Chandrasekaran, the petitioner said, adding that he had deposed an affidavit 
against Novartis in High Court before becoming a Technical Member of the IPAB. 
It said he would “suffer from a prejudiced mindset and would not be able to 
apply his mind in an independent fashion.” It said, “It is well nigh impossible 
to expect that a person with an indelible mindset will be able to serve as an 
unbiased Technical Member (Patent).”

It sought to quash the IPAB order and consequently direct the Board to remove 
Mr. Chandrasekaran from acting as a Technical Member (Patent) to hear the 
appeal and direct the Centre to appoint another Technical Member in his place.

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