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Copyright (c) 2008 Regents of the University of California
Berkeley Technology Law Journal

ANNUAL REVIEW 2008: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: PATENT: Note: Trials and TRIPS-ulations: Indian Patent Law and Novartis AG v. Union of India

Annual Review, 2008

Berkeley Technology Law Journal

23 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 281


By Linda L. Lee


When pharmaceutical company Novartis challenged the rejection of its patent application for the leukemia drug Gleevec in Novartis AG v. Union of India, 1 it became the first major legal challenge to India's newly amended patent law. In 2005, India purportedly made the final changes required to bring its intellectual property laws in compliance with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the World Trade Organization's (WTO) minimum standards for intellectual property protection, 2 but its patent law is still fraught with a number of controversial provisions. The ability of pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis to secure patent protection in India not only is important in creating incentives for pharmaceutical research, but also greatly affects the Indian generic drug industry, and therefore the price of medicine available to patients. India is the world's second most populous country 3 and the second-fastest growing major economy, 4 but has 70% of its population living on less than $ 2 per day, 5 making Novartis AG of paramount importance.

India joined the WTO at the end of the twentieth century, 6 marking India's entry into the global economy, but also requiring compliance with international standards for its intellectual property regime. Under TRIPS obligations, developing countries such as India must strengthen its intellectual property rights (IPRs) to conform to the stronger intellectual property regimes prevalent in developed countries in order to be members of the WTO. 7 Changes in Indian intellectual property law would ...
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