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The Indian government’s patent laws have been put on trial. Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has accused the government of failing to comply with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules after it refused to grant the company a patent on its cancer drug Glivec.
India signed up to the WTO’s Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) patent regime when it joined the WTO in 1995. As a developing country, it was granted a transition period of 10 years to bring its laws in line with Trips. Novartis now claims that the failure to acknowledge Glivec as an innovative drug means that India is operating outside these regulations. The Indian government rejects the claim, arguing that Glivec is an existing drug with only a minor alteration.
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