Novartis: India does not grant the patent

The 1st of April 2013 the Supreme Court of India rejected an appeal filed by Novartis, against the decision taken by the indian patent office of not granting a patent that concerned a particular form of an oncological medication known as Glivec. Glivec is considered an exceptional medicine, the outcome of a long research and experimentation that costed millions of euros. It’s not only a very efficient medication, but also a less damaging one than others with only one flaw: its high cost. After the period of protection for the first patent, the indian industry started to produce it but selling it to a much lower cost than the original one. Meanwhile, Novartis had filed another patent application for an improved version of Glivec that, in case of granting, it would have guaranteed exclusive rights for twenty years. The Section 3(d) of the indian Patents Act of 1970 states, however, that «the simple discovery of a new form for a known substance that doesn’t carry any improvement of the efficacy with regard to that substance […]» is not an invention. Basing itself on this regulation, the Supreme Court rejected the patent application of Novartis since the new form of this medication did not concern it’s therapeutic strength, already guaranteed by the first patent, and therefore its improvements had to be considered secondary and not worthy of protection. The decision had political relevance and it had been received with a clamour in India, a country where only a few could have afforded the medication had the patent been granted.