Novartis v. Union of India (2013) 6 SCC 1

Novartis filled an application to patent one of its drugs called ‘Gleevec’ by covering it under the word invention mentioned in Section 3 of the Patents Act,1970. The Supreme Court rejected their application after a 7year long battle by giving the following reasons: Firstly there was no invention of a new drug, as a mere discovery of an existing drug would not amount to invention. Secondly Supreme Court upheld the view that under Indian Patent Act for grant of pharmaceutical patents apart from proving the traditional tests of novelty, inventive step and application, there is a new test of enhanced therapeutic efficacy for claims that cover incremental changes to existing drugs which also Novartis’s drug did not qualify. This became a landmark judgment because the court looked beyond the technicalities and into the fact that the attempt of such companies to ‘evergreen’ their patents and making them inaccessible at nominal rates.