Friday, 30 January 2009

South Africa: Generics trial next week!!

Tim Ball (patent litigation specialist at Brian Bacon & Associates) has informed Afro-IP of a showdown in the Court of the Commissioner of Patents next week, providing a useful summary pre hearing:

"The case of Les Laboratoires Servier et al v Cipla Medpro et al (Patent 2002/10092) is set down for hearing in the Court of the Commissioner of Patents on 2 – 4 February. Servier is applying for an interim interdict to prevent Cipla Medpro from selling its generic perindopril medicine.

Perindopril (Servier’s brand, “COVERSYL”) is a long acting ACT inhibitor (an anti-hypertensive medication). COVERSYL was first marketed by Servier in the late 1980s, but in 2000 Servier characterised various crystalline forms of perindopril and filed patent applications covering these forms, including the “alpha” form now in dispute. The equivalent UK and Netherlands patents have already been found to be invalid, with the UK Court of Appeal (per Jacob LJ) calling the UK patent “the sort of patent which can give the patent system a bad name”. (ed - reminds Afro-Leo of one of his favourite rock tunes)

This is the first of what is expected to be a number of cases between Servier and generic suppliers regarding the South African patent on the alpha crystalline form of perindopril, with Servier having subsequently also instituted separate proceedings against Ranbaxy on the same patent, and an action against Cipla Medpro.

Next week’s hearing should be a fine show, with Fanie Cilliers SC and Gavin Marriott (instructed by DM Kisch) appearing for Servier, and Cedric Puckrin SC and Reinhard Michau (instructed by Tim of Brian Bacon & Associates) appearing for Cipla Medpro."

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