Keywords: patents, carrot theory, Novartis, intellectual property standards, public interest, pharmaceutical corporations, India, intellectual property rights, IPR, TRIPS, World Trade Organization, WTO
Patents versus patients: reflections on this blatant patent regime
The paper centres on the 'patents versus patients' debate and delves into the challenges facing India's pharmaceutical sector with the advent of the World Trade Organization (WTO)-Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) product patent regime. Considering the nation's commitments on international soil and the subsequent domestic legislations enacted to fulfil commitments made at international level, it explores the legitimacy behind the unification of intellectual property laws at the global level and questions the 'one shoe fits all' regime. The famous Chennai High Court decision upholding the constitutional validity of domestic patent legislation upon being challenged by a Swiss pharmaceutical corporation has been discussed. Indeed, it is not easy to manage the challenges of WTO participation, where such is the price for innovation. Towards that end, the paper attempts to offer a package of solutions to be collectively administered in order to mitigate the ills of what has now become a 'harsh' patent regime.