Even with the rejection of the appeal by from Novartis AG by the High Court in Madras on the ground that it was only an incremental innovation, the pharmaceutical companies appear to be aggressively pursuingand securingpatents for drugs that would fall under Indias frivolous patenting guidelines that bar such incremental innovations from getting patent protection.The Indian Patent Act specifies that incremental innovations should not be granted product patents unless its efficacy is proved to be significantly superior to its generic product.
Several drug firms, mostly large multinational companies, have filed more than one application for a single drug, already patented, by making minor modifications. They are filing such applications at different patent offices in India.
Indias four regional patent offices are located in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. Since these offices operate independently without a coordinated single system to process these applications, many such patent applications on incremental innovations have already been granted patents, claims Anand Grower, a senior lawyer with Lawyers Collective, a Mumbai-based non-governmental organization that deals with issues related to health care and access to medicine.