Rubbishing reports that Government had revoked Swiss pharmaceutical major Roche Holding’s patent, the Commerce and Industry Ministry, on Monday, said that it (Roche) lost the Indian patent for breast cancer drug ‘Herceptin’ as it did not comply with local norms after facing a post-grant challenge.
In a statement issued here, the Ministry said Roche filed for patent of Herceptin on October 11, 2000 and was granted a patent on April 6, 2007, but faced a post-grant challenge. Following that, the Controllers of the Patent Office gave the company an opportunity, under three applications filed by it, to be heard before the final disposition of these cases.
'The patent had lapsed due to the procedural delays on part of the Swiss company. Before the Controllers issued their decisions, the applicants were given due opportunity of being heard but the applicants have chosen not to attend. It is submitted that in the instant cases, the Patent Office has followed the due course of principle of natural justice, gave the applicant the opportunity of being heard, and then only finally disposed of the matter,' the Ministry’s statement said.
The statement said in the instant cases, it was found that proper steps for filing request or filing divisional applications were not followed by the applicants.
The Ministry statement said that if the requests were not filed within time, they were treated as withdrawn under section IIB(4) of the (Indian Patents) Act.
Giving details on how the company had failed to adhere to deadlines, the statement said the Patent Controller found that the Request for Examination had been filed on March 7, 2006, i.e., beyond the prescribed period (which was due on February 16, 2006) as per the Indian patent norms. 'Two separate dates were given to the company this year by the Controller to hear its case but the agent of the applicant did not appear in the hearing and even did not submit any notes of argument. Under these circumstances, the Controller ordered that the application should be treated as withdrawn,' the statement added.