Glaxo Novartis patent wrangle takes a new step

Posted on 17 Aug 2009 by The Manufacturer

British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is reportedly set for a new round in its legal tussle with one of its leading rivals – Novartis of Switzerland – over an alleged patent infringement.

The action relates to the production procedure of vaccines against children’s illnesses, including bacterial meningitis.
GSK said it first patented the process in 1981. Novartis then had its own patent accepted early this decade. GSK began a lawsuit last year, labelling Novartis’ patent as “weak” and claiming “it should never have been granted”.

A hearing for that case has been lined up for January next year but Novartis has now decided to counter-sue, claiming that, in fact, it is GSK that has infringed on intellectual property.

GSK is yet to formally respond to this latest development and neither party has issued comment.

Glaxo leads a host of major pharmaceuticakl manufacturers that are expecting to make a large profit from the development and sale of swin flu vaccines.

Chief executive Andrew Witty conceded the situation “is going to be positive” for GSK, but it is “only because we have put ourselves in a position to do it,” he said.

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