Friday, 24 April 2009

Tarceva case: Roche fined for "material suppression"

The excellent and informative Spicy IP blog today features this post by Shamnad Basheer "Breaking News: Roche Loses Tarceva Patent Case and Faces Hefty Fine": it explains the ruling of Appellate Bench of the Delhi High Court (Justice AP Shah and Justice Muralidhar) in favour of Cipla and against Roche in a high profile patent litigation involving Roche's patented drug Tarceva. PatLit focuses here on Shamnad's account of the fine:
"Interestingly, and perhaps very damagingly for Roche, the judge also imposed a cost of 5 lakhs (approximately USD 10,000) on Roche for suppressing material facts. The court appears to suggest that Roche had taken the patent office and the court for a ride by suppressing facts. Roche has around ninety days to appeal to the Supreme Court of India now. If not for anything else, it ought to appeal to reverse the finding that it suppressed material facts".
Since Shamnad did not have an opportunity to read the judgment in full before posting, we may expect more detail in his follow-up post. It would be good to know whether the fine was imposed under an inherent jurisdiction for contempt of court or under some specific statutory power under the Indian patent legislation. In either event, since India is becoming an increasingly important venue for patent actions, litigants should be aware of the risk incurred in taking what is seen as suppressive action. 

Earlier this week ("License to speed - but not to shred"), PatLit posted a note on the problems faced by Rambus in its US suit against Micron, having shredded materials that may also have had some bearing on the outcome of the case. There, no fine was imposed but the patent was ruled unenforceable. 

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