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Cipla weighs legal options after Delhi HC’s patent ruling

Cipla weighs legal options after Delhi HC’s patent ruling

New Delhi: Drug major Cipla is exploring all legal options in the wake of Delhi High Court’s ruling that it has infringed Swiss drug major Hoffman-La Roche’s patent on lung cancer drug erlotinib hydrochloride sold under Tarceva.

“The division Bench of the High Court of Delhi has ruled that Cipla has infringed Roche’s patent on erlotinib, a drug used for lung cancer. However, the court has allowed Cipla to continue to sell the product,” Cipla said in a statement.

The court will also determine the quantum of damages Cipla owes to Roche after the former furnishes accounts, it added.

“Cipla will explore all legal options available to it,” the company said.

A Bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Mukta Gupta yesterday noted that Cipla’s lung cancer medicine, erlocip, is one polymorphic form of the erlotinib hydrochloride compound, which may exist in several forms, and Roche’s patent claim is not limited to any one such version.

The court, however, did not grant any injunction in favour of Roche by restraining Cipla, saying the patent in favour of the Swiss company will expire in March 2016.

The court, in its 106-page judgment, also said that as Cipla “could not establish prima facie that suit patent was obvious, its plea for invalidating Roche’s patent on the ground of obviousness fails”.

In a statement, Roche has said it “welcomes the decision of the division Bench of the Delhi High Court, which has upheld the patent covering erlotinib hydrochloride (Tarceva) and has found Cipla to have infringed the patent”. AKT ARD

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