Indian Patent Law: Walking the Line

Sheehe, Johanna | January 1, 2009

This comment proposes that cultural preferences have had a strong influence over the development of Indian patent law, and that these preferences influenced the court decision against Novartis. Part I will introduce TRIPS and international patent law, discuss the development of Indian patent law in the context of its colonial past and WTO membership, and explain the decisions by the Indian Patent Office and the Court of Madras in the context of Glivec’s development. Part II will explore WTO attitudes and approaches to TRIPS and argue that if Switzerland were to bring India to the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Board (DSB), it would be unsuccessful due to the liberal nature of TRIPS and the DSB’s history of giving discretion to individual countries to interpret their TRIPS obligations. Part III will conclude by arguing that despite the Glivec decision, pharmaceutical investment in India will not be stifled, but continue to grow due to the relatively low cost of investment and highly skilled work force.