Indian drug giant Cipla caught a break of sorts when a court in New Delhi ruled that while the company had infringed the patent held by Roche ($RHHBY) on the lung cancer drug Tarceva (erlotinib hydrochloride), Cipla can continue selling its copy in light of the fact the patent expires in March 2016.
The court said it would impose damages on Cipla once the company furnishes certain accounting figures with Cipla saying it is "exploring all legal options available" to it to respond to the finding.
In its ruling, the court said while the drug is "one polymorphic form of the erlotinib hydrochloride compound, which may exist in several forms, … Roche's patent claim is not limited to any one such version," according to a report by India.com.
Roche, for its part, told the Economic Times that it "welcomed the decision" that its patent had been violated and said its patent covers "all polymorphs and derivatives of erlotinib."
The decision in the case overturns an earlier 2009 ruling by a single judge who had rejected Roche's infringement claims, according to the Economic Times report.