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The Delhi High Court has restrained pharma major Cipla from exporting ‘Tarceva’ to those countries where Swiss company Hoffmann La Roche has patent registration for the anti-cancer drug. The court also sought response from Cipla on an appeal filed by Swiss pharma company against the order of single bench that had refused to restrain the Indian firm from manufacturing and selling anti-cancer drug ‘Tarceva’, alleged to be a copy of the former’s patent.

“Respondent (Cipla) in the meantime shall, while complying with the order of single bench, not export the drug in the question where plaintiff (La Roche) has patent registration,” a bench of Justice Manmohan Sarin and Justice Manmohan said. The bench, however, also made it clear that observations made by the single bench shall not be used by any third party as precedent for the purpose of manufacturing the drug.

It gave Cipla two weeks to file reply and also directed La Roche to give the list of countries where it has got patent registration for the drug. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Swiss company, contended that the single bench passed an order that was alien to the patent law. The single bench order was said to be in the public interest on the ground that there was a huge price differentiation in the product of the two firms, however there was no correlation between patent law and public interest as patent grants a company statutory monopoly, Singhvi said.

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