RPT-India's top court dismisses Novartis petition for Glivec patent

Mon Apr 1, 2013 1:56am EDT

(Repeats story to attach to refiled alert; no changes to text)

NEW DELHI, April 1 (Reuters) - India's highest court has dismissed Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG's petition seeking patent protection for its cancer drug Glivec, a serious blow to Western pharmaceutical firms which are increasingly focusing on India to drive sales.

In a landmark judgment that has the potential to change the direction of India's pharmaceutical business, the Supreme Court said on Monday that the drug failed to qualify for a patent according to Indian law.

Novartis has been fighting since 2006 to win an Indian patent for an amended form of Glivec. In 2009 it took its challenge against a law that bans patents on newer but not radically different forms of known drugs to the Supreme Court. (Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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