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Winds of change: F Hoffman-La Roche Ltd & Anr v Cipla Ltd (CS (OS) No. 89/2008, judgment dated 7.9.12)

Shwetasree Majumder and Eashan Ghosh

Keywords: India; patent infringement; patent validity; injunction; erlotinib hydrochloride; Roche v Cipla; Section 3(d); prior art disclosure; prior art anticipation

When Justice Manmohan Singh pronounced his decision in F Hoffman-La Roche & Anr v Cipla Ltd before a packed courtroom in the Delhi High Court on a balmy morning this past September, the sense of anticipation in the air was palpable. Not only would this verdict lay down the yardsticks against which all future patent infringement trials in India would be evaluated but it would provide priceless insight into the judicial stance towards generic drug manufacturers in the world's largest generic drug manufacturing market – a nation, not surprisingly, waited with bated breath. In this article, we provide a blow-by-blow account of India's first post-TRIPs patent infringement trial, charting a course through Justice Singh's ground-breaking observations on patent infringement, patent validity, prior art disclosure and therapeutic efficacy, as well as the what if's and the twists of fate that shaped arguably India's highest-profile patent law judgement of 2012.

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