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USTR Reviewing India’s Supreme Court Ruling on Novartis AG
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On Tuesday, Andrea Mead, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, said referring to the recent court ruling in India against Novartis AG that the USTR was “reviewing the Court’s order. We look forward to continued engagement and successful collaboration with India on these issues.”

On Monday, the top court in India dismissed the claims of Novartis AG and its attempts to safeguard its patents against generic competitors for the cancer drug Glivec. While the decision gave a boost to manufacture of cheap generics in India, it had ripple effects across the world raising concerns of IP rights.

The United States said the ruling signaled a “deteriorating” situation for intellectual property rights in India.

  
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The U.S.-India Business Council also criticized the ruling and said in a statement, “Over 40 countries including China, Russia and Taiwan have already granted a patent for Novartis’ Glivec and India now stands out as unique for not granting a patent to this incremental innovation.” The council further stated that the “denial of the Glivec patent may now exclude from patentability many other significant inventions in the pharmaceuticals area.”

India, which is already on the “priority watch list” for countries with weak property rights protections, also revoked Pfizer’s patent for Sutent, another cancer medicine, last year.

In a Congressional hearing in March, the chief intellectual property counsel of Pfizer, Roy Waldron, had commented, “If left alone, this trend will destroy the market for innovative pharmaceuticals in India.” He had requested the U.S. government to use all policy tools including action at the World Trade Organization for defending intellectual property rights of U.S. companies.

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