Swiss-firm-Nova5177Novartis, the Swiss drug multinational which fought a six-year battle for retaining its Glivec patent and lost the case in India, seems to have landed in yet another patent controversy now. This time it is about marketing of a respiratory drug, Indacaterol, at a very high price and that too in insufficient quantities. Marketed as Onbrez, the drug is used to treat breathing problems associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and it is estimated that more than 15 million Indians are afflicted with the disease.
Novartis has been granted the patent for the Onbrez in 2008 by Indian patent office but the company never attempted to manufacture the drug in the country and has been importing the same since then. As the import of the drug is not adequate to meet the growing demand of patients, a shortage situation already exists in the country causing distress to several thousands of patients according to Cipla, a leading Indian pharmaceutical company. It is rather surprising that neither the Patent Office in the country nor the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion took note of the shortage situation after the grant of the patent to Novartis.

Cipla in the meanwhile reported to have launched a cheaper version of the drug in the market on the ground that there is a shortage for the drug in the country and approached DIPP to revoke the patent granted to Novartis. DIPP has not taken a decision on this matter yet. Section 66 of the Indian Patents Act empowers the Central government to revoke a patent in public interest after giving the patent holder an opportunity to explain why it should not be revoked. Cipla’s stand is that there is an urgent and unmet need for the respiratory drug in India and it has to be made available at an affordable price to the patients.
If Cipla’s stand in this matter is factual, then the government needs to act fast on this matter and make the drug available to maximum number of patients in the country. How that should be done in a situation like this has to be decided by the government without any further loss of time. First of all, the government should have monitored the CIPLAavailability of the drug in the market after the grant of patent in 2008 as it is an exclusive marketing right for an essential drug. Cipla’s unilateral decision, at the same time, to launch a generic version of the drug in the market is debatable.

Cipla has asked the DIPP to revoke five patents of Novartis relating to the product citing need for public health access and stated the patent holder Novartis does not manufacture the drug in India.
Last year in April, Novartis had lost a seven-year long legal battle for getting its blood cancer drug Glivec patented in India and to restrain Indian companies from manufacturing generic drugs, with the Supreme Court rejecting the multinational company’s plea.

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The Nine  Dont’s of writing a legal research paper


Do not pick a topic which, by its very nature, cannot be proven, or researched using normal standards of evidence.

For example: Avoid such topics as: ESP; the existence of God; mystical events; “Gods from Outer Space;” “alien abduction”; miracles of any kind; whether there is “life after death;” etc.

It’s best to avoid any kind of religious topic except, possibly, an historical one.


Avoid any topic which you feel so strongly about that you could not have an open mind about it.

For example: If you passionately hate Fidel Castro, or Newt Gingrich, do not write on them.

If you choose such a topic, you will not be setting out to discover the truth.

Instead, you will be setting out to find examples or evidence to support preconceived ideas you already hold.

But research is the attempt to discover the truth. So you will not be doing research.

However, if you are interested in a topic, and at the same time feel you could have an open mind about it, then that would be a good topic for you. You will be more interested and motivated to spend the long hours of research, and will think more creatively and better about your topic, if you are interested in it.


Do not pick a topic where you will have to rely upon complex statistical information which you cannot understand.

If you do, you will be choosing to “believe” the source of your statistics. Believing authorities is not research, and can never lead you to discovering the truth.

Exception: you can use statistics  the United Nations, provided that you know how to use them, and look for critiques of them. But avoid statistics from private research organizations or foundations.

4.       TECHNICAL

In general, do not pick any technical topics. Only those who have technical skills can do research in technical areas. If you believe you have such technical skills in some area, please consult with me first.

5.       LEGAL

Avoid legal topics — any topic which involves determining whether something is, or might be, “legal” or “illegal.”

Legal research is not research in the sense in which we are studying and using it here. Legal research is concerned with finding precedents in previous law cases decided by various courts. This is a specialized skill. It is not concerned with discovering the truth.

6.       MORAL

Avoid choosing topics in which your “research” would mainly be deciding whether something is “right” or “wrong,” “good” or “bad.”

Moral judgments cannot be proven true or false in the same way that other statements can be.


Do not pick a topic which involves events that are so recent that it would be difficult or impossible to find other research on them.

One of the most important ways of learning research methods is to study good research done by experienced researchers on the same topic you are interested in. This won’t be possible to do in the case of a very recent topic. Therefore, you should avoid such topics.


Don’t pick a topic where you obviously can’t gain access to the evidence, or to the object to be studied.




In order to come to correct conclusions about X, you must study X directly

where X is any object of study.

Will a denial of broadcasting service to digitally non-compliant households constitute a violation of the constitutional right to receive information and ideas?


Digital broadcasting has emerged as a globally accepted standard for next-generation mass media. It presents a method of relaying radio and television signals with various advantages from analogue broadcasting. It enables a more efficient use of bandwidth and the bundling of multiple channels in one frequency. Moreover, digitally broadcast images, video and audio have a higher quality than their analogue counterparts. The transition from digital to signal broadcasting is arguably the most significant technological cross-over for television and is only closely rivaled, if not slightly surpassed, by the invention of colour television.


At the stroke of midnight at the end of 17th June 2015, all nations will cease all analogue broadcasts of radio and television signals and switch over to the transmission of digital-only signals with the exception of

digital migration
digital migration

some developing countries for which the transition period will end on 17 June 2020. On that date, all analogue television sets for which the owners will not have installed a digital signal converter will go black.

In Kenya however, the communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) have new self-imposed datelines. They will carry out the analogue switch-off exercise in 3 phases to wit; Nairobi on 13th December, 2013; Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kisii, Nakuru and Eldoret on 30th March, 2014 and the rest of the country on 30th June, 2014.

Consumers of analogue television services and members of the public in general through Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) have opposed the move by CCK to switch off analogue television frequency signals by 13th December 2013 or any other date before June 2014. They contend that this notice is too short and inappropriate considering that December is a festive season, immediately after which school re-opening calendar together with prevalent economic challenges facing Kenyans puts financial pressure on poor households not to forget the need for Kenyans to follow important national developments which include devolution and constitutional implementation processes, among others.

CCK’s decision, in the event that it is sustained, will lock out millions of Kenyans from following important national matters such as legislations, government policies, and matters of national interest, among others as envisaged under Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya. While they claim , that so far 500,000 set boxes have been sold in Nairobi, there is no similar evidence and goodwill to demonstrate that the over 3,500,000 remaining television owners will purchase the compulsory and prescribed gadgets

The consumers and general public right to information will be severely infringed because current free-to-air channels, some paid for by the taxpayer, are being forced into pay-TV bundles vide a set-top box which are not free of cost. The specific case in which consumers of television services cannot access NTV, Citizen TV and KTN on the StarTimes platform is one such discrimination, against Article 27(4) of the Constitution of Kenya, which is being perpetuated with untold impunity as CCK maintain their loud silence. It should be a requirement that all set-top boxes/integrated digital TVs must be able to receive all non-encrypted free to air TV. In Denmark, the Ministry of Research and Communication has determined (Danish Ministry of Research, departmental order no. 709 of 25 June 1996) that “Digital decoders must be constructed in a way that allows non-encrypted digital TV signals to pass transparently through them.”

Further, there has been no sufficient public information, education and communication campaign to raise awareness on digital migration to allow consumers the freedom of choice as envisaged in Article 46 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2012.

digital 2
The foregoing concerns are not the bitter pill of new technology that a society must take at a certain time in its development. Rather, once resolved, they will be the relish with which the consumer will find the transition to digital broadcasting more appetizing. The national digital broadcasting switchover programme will need to anticipate and resolve these concerns.

Apple Vs. Samsung: Phones that brought the $ 1 billion verdict

Apple won a decisive victory against Samsung in court last week when a jury awarded $1.05 billion in damages to Apple for Samsung’s infringement of design patents, software patents and trade dress.

The Apple Vs. Samsung ruling has been released, and there is a lot to process in there, but one of the most interesting things is the list showing how much each Samsung contributed to the more than $1 billion ruling Accused Samsung Product Amount

Captivate (JX 1011) $80,840,162

Continuum (JX 1016) $16,399,117

Droid Charge (JX 1025) $50,672,869

Epic 4G (JX1012) $130,180,896

Exhibit 4G (JX 1028) $1,081,820

Fascinate (JX 1013) $143,539,179

Galaxy Ace (JX 1030)$0

Galaxy Prevail (JX 1022) $57,867,383

Galaxy S (i9000) (JX 1007) $0

Galaxy S 4G (JX 1019) $73,344,668

Galaxy S II (AT&T) (JX 1031) $40,496,358

Galaxy S II (i9100) (JX 1032) $0

Galaxy S II (T-Mobile) (JX 1033) $83,791,708

Galaxy S II (Epic 4G Touch) (JX 1034) $100,326,988

Galaxy S II (Skyrocket) (JX 1035) $32,273,558

Galaxy S Showcase (i500) (JX 1017) $22,002,146

Galaxy Tab (JX 1036) $1,966,691

Galaxy Tav 10.1 (WiFi) (JX 1037) $0

Galaxy Tab 10.1 (4G LTE) (JX 1038) $0

Gem (JX 1020) $4,075,585

Indulge (JX 1026) $16,011,184

Infuse 4G (JX 1027) $44,792,974

Intercept (JX 1009) $0

Mesmerize (JX 1015) $53,123,612

Nexus S 4G (JX 1023)$1,828,297

Replenish (JX1024) $3,350,256

Transform (JX 1014) $953,060

Vibrant (JX 1010) $89,673,957

Both companies are due back in  court on Sept. 20 to begin the process of injunctions against the devices found to have infringed on Apple’s patents.

The Apple Vs. Samsung ruling (PDF link)

Parallel Importing and Trademarks

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What is Parallel Importing?

Essentially, it is bringing in of legitimate or genuine products to a country, but without the express permission of the intellectual property owner. So, it’s not a fake or counterfeit product – it’s the real deal, but to parallel import it basically means you are bringing it in alongside those that have permission to import the property. Generally, this happens because the importer can get the same legitimate product overseas at a lower cost than they can in their own country through the licensed or authorised distributor/s of the product.

The subject of whether Parallel Importing should be allowed in Australia has been the subject of debate for many years. There are certainly arguments for and against it – for example, as the IP owner you wouldn’t want others ‘cashing in’ on your products without your authorisation or without paying you a fee would you? However…

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Need to Know: Intellectual Property


A recent topic that hits home, not only because its part of my day job, is intellectual property rights. As the saying goes, everyone steals from Shakespeare and Shakespeare stole from everyone else. Its pretty much common knowledge that no writer’s work is entirely comprised of original material. We are all influenced by the world around us. But what happens when you use what isn’t yours and don’t even know about it? Well, you don’t always get slapped on the wrist with a stern warning to never do it again. No one shrugs their shoulders these days and says, “What’s done is done.”

Author Roni Loren recently published the following blog about how she was sued for ignorantly using an artist’s image. It didn’t matter that she had no idea the image was even owned by someone, until that someone exercised their right to that ownership. It also didn’t matter…

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