On 27 November 2015, an appellate bench of the Delhi High Court in F Hoffmann-La Roche v Cipla Ltd issued a 184-paragraph opinion, overturning in part a 2012 single judge decision and holding that Cipla had infringed Roche's Indian patent over erlotinib hydrochloride. However, it turned out that large swathes of the appellate decision had been lifted verbatim from an article I co-authored for this journal in 2013. Alerted to the lapse, the bench issued a corrected order on 8 December 2015 and, in an unprecedented move, opted to expunge the plagiarized portions and issued an apology for the oversight. As a result, the rebooted ruling dives straight into the legal issues involved and, as this article posits, is no less explosive for its findings on merits than it was for the curious episode that created a buzz around it for all the wrong reasons. In doing so, the decision deviates from Indian precedent in a manner that could, in equal parts, be construed as path-breaking, unsettling and, above all, fiercely controversial.
Shwetasree Majumder and Eashan Ghosh
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.