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GENERAL IPR

INDIAN GOVERNMENT TO RESTRUCTURE REGULATORY PROCESS FOR BIOSIMILAR DRUGS

The Drug Controller General of India’s (DCGI) office is going to initiate a dialogue to reform regulatory process for biological drugs and biogenerics. These are known as biosimilars in Europe and US. The drug licensing authority - DCGI office is preparing an exclusive draft legislation for regulating biologicals and biogenerics and the first round consultations with industry and other stakeholders may soon be initiated.

Every biological drug based on recombinant DNA technology must have the approval of the department of biotechnology, the environment ministry and the DCGI under the health ministry. The global biotech MNCs in India and the domestic biotech and pharma companies have the same opinion on the necessity of a complete regulatory structure for biosimilars.

The stalwarts in the Indian pharma and biotech industry have been insisting on a regulatory pathway for biosimilars, because of their extent of complexity as compared to conventional chemical drugs.

PATENT

INDIA TAKES NETHERLANDS TO WTO

The Indian Government has taken the Dutch Government to the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) regarding the seizure of Indian drug exports in the Netherlands, on allegations of patent-infringement.

In a case filed with the WTO's DSB in Geneva, the Government of India has criticized the Netherlands authorities for implementing TRIPS-plus conditions and seizing exports transiting through its ports, thus preventing access of medicines, to developing countries. Many drug companies re-directed their exports through other routes, including South Africa, to avoid this problem and thus drastically increased the costs.

Two Indian drug companies — Ind-Swift and Cipla hade also filed individual cases against the Dutch Customs authorities, as their consignments were seized at Amsterdam ports. Chandigarh-based drug-maker Ind-Swift won the case and got back its seized consignment and half its litigation cost was reimbursed by the Union Commerce Ministry.

SOFTWARE PATENTS TO BE BANNED IN NEW ZEALAND

The New Zealand government is passing a Patents Bill which will ban software patents in New Zealand. However patents on inventions that contain embedded software would be allowed.

There are many software companies in New Zealand, creating innovative software which are at a constant risk of litigious action by a patent holder. This has led to many 'patent troll' companies. These are non-software companies which buy old patents with the objective of suing innovative software companies for obvious infringement of these patents.

The New Zealand Computer Society has welcomed the move, saying that software patents would significantly suppress innovation. But the New Zealand ICT industry group NZICT, which opposed the bill, has warned that it could hamper innovation and would have affect trade in the country by limiting the skill to develop digital exports.

MULTIPLAYER STEREOSCOPIC SYSTEM PATENT FOR SONY

Sony has filed patents for a new stereoscopic system that would allow two gamers to enjoy 3D multiplayer without the need for split-screen.

The patent filed a year ago and published last week describe a way of presenting two separate images on one screen, and depict glasses which can then filter them. The glasses work by making sure that the right images are sent to the correct eyes.

Two images from one video screen can be viewed by two different people, allowing them to see different images on the same screen. Each player would need their own set of glasses. A special 3D television is required for this technology where one person could watch a movie while the other plays games. The day may not be far when Sony would bring this unique technology to the consumer level.

EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE TO ASSESS BROCCOLI AND TOMATO

The European Patent Office’s (EPO) Enlarged Board of Appeal in Munich is questioning the patents on broccoli and tomatoes. The panel is of the opinion that a biological process is not patentable.
 
In 2002, Plant Bioscience Ltd. (PBL) a British company was granted a patent by the EPO (EPO) for a method which identified the anti-carcinogenic properties of broccoli, enabling the company to selectively breed plants with a high concentration of this property, including the plants selected and produced by this method. This gave the company a patent on broccoli. A similar patent was granted to an Israeli company in 2000, for a method for breeding tomatoes with less water and the product of the method.

Appeals have been made against both patents on the grounds that a biological process can not be patented. The appeal board will review the two patents to verify whether these breeding processes and selection methods are biological processes or patentable technological processes.

 

TRADEMARK

TATA SUES GREENPEACE OVER TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT

TATA Sons has filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace India, a non-governmental environmental organization, in the Delhi High Court claiming defamation and trademark infringement and sought Rs. 10 crore as compensation. Greenpeace has been openly opposing the Dhamra Port Project, being co-developed by TATA Steel, as a threat to nearby protected areas and endangered species.

The Dhamra port is situated near Bhitarkanika, India's second largest mangrove forest which is a habitat of the saltwater crocodile, and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, one of the world's largest nesting grounds for the endangered olive ridley sea turtle.

Greenpeace has uploaded an online game Turtle vs TATA which shows some creatures marked with Tata logo, trying to catch a helpless turtle. Tata Sons claim that direct mention of the company trademark in the game without authorization or permission from them infringes its trade mark rights.

The Delhi High Court has granted a time of 10 days to Greenpeace India, to file a written reply to the trademark infringement suit filed by Tata & Sons, promoter of the key companies of the Tata Group.

WAL-MART’S BEST PRICE BRAND IN DISPUTE

The world’s largest retailer, US-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. which operates in India through Bharti-Walmart Pvt. Ltd is in a mess regarding its brand name. Bharti-Walmart Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture of Wal-Mart with Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises Ltd, had applied for a trademark for ‘Best Price Modern Wholesale’ at the trademark registry. The registrar’s office has found “similar” trademarks in its records. Aditya Birla Retail Ltd. had earlier applied to trademark ‘Best Price for retailing and allied businesses’.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. evades using its global brands such as Walmart and Sam’s Club in India as small-scale traders have been objecting to the entry of big business groups into the country.

Bharti-Walmart has two outlets, one in Amritsar and another near Chandigarh and plans to open 15 wholesale stores in the next three years. The company has made half a dozen applications to trademark Best Price Cash and Carry and Best Price Modern Wholesale along with the logo.

HP SEEKS PALMPAD TRADEMARK

Hewlett Packard (HP) is seeking to trademark the name "PalmPad" for computer hardware and mobile devices. This hints at a probable tablet computer based on HP's purchase of Palm and its Web-OS.

Palo Alto-based HP has filed for a trademark the name "PalmPad" at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The company had acquired ailing Palm for $1.2 billion this July.

It is anticipated that the HP tablet would contend directly with the iPad and will include touch screen capabilities. There is a chance that HP is merging Palm's Web-OS with technology that HP demonstrated in the Slate.