India patent ruling won't face the WTO

It looks as if it's not only Novartis who'll lose in India. After the country's high court threw out Novartis' complaint against an Indian law that prohibits patenting minor drug modifications, experts say that up to 500 pending patent applications could be stillborn.

This is a bad news/good news sort of thing: Medecins Sans Frontieres believes the court decision shores up opposition to 13 new patents on HIV and cancer drugs that, in their cheap generic form, could help fight both diseases in poverty-stricken areas of the globe. Though Novartis has already said it won't appeal the decision, the humanitarian organization delivered a 420,000-signature petition to the company, asking it not to take its dispute to the World Trade Organization (the WTO helps set standards for intellectual property law). For its part, Switzerland says it won't throw its weight behind the Swiss-based company against the WTO.

- read the Business Standard article
- see this release on the petition
- see the AFX report