Ajantha Pharma alleged that the patent was obtained on false representation

In line with the revocation of patents granted to western drug manufacturers on the ground of lack of invention, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has cancelled the patents of two ophthalmic drugs manufactured by Allergan Inc., a pharmaceutical major of the U.S. The two drugs are Combigan and Ganfort.

The IPAB had last week revoked Glaxo Group’s patent for its breast cancer drug, ‘Tykerb’ following a series of revocations such as Pfizer's cancer drug Sutent and Roche Holding AG's hepatitis C drug Pegasys on the ground of lack of invention. The Board, comprising its chairman Prabha Sridevan and technical member D.P.S.Parmar, gave the order to the Controller of Patents and Designs, Kolkata while disposing of applications filed by Mumbai-based Ajantha Pharma Limited challenging the patents granted to Allergan on the ground of lack of invention.

Allergan obtained the patent under the title “combination of Brimonidine and Timolol” for topical ophthalmic use. Seeking to revoke the patent, Ajantha Pharma alleged that the patent was obtained on false representation, and contended that the composition was an obvious one and not an invention. It was a mere admixture. The benefit provided by it was additive, where each of the two drugs caused the respective therapeutic effect independent of each other. The advantages of the combination of the two drugs were known.

However, Allergan said ‘Combigan’ comprised the combination of Brimonidine tartarate and Timolol maleate, and is covered within the scope of invention. Justifying its patent, it said the combination reduced side effects and was more effective than its components.

Disposing of the application, the IPAB held that Allergan’s application did not seem to meet the requirement regarding inventive step. Holding that its patent be revoked, the Board said the company withheld information relating to the patent disputes in other countries. The IPAB also ordered the revocation of Allergan’s another patented ophthalmic composition called“Hypotensive Lipid (prostaglandin derivatives) and Timolol composition” known as Ganfort. The inventors claimed to achieve enhanced treatment of ocular hypertension with reduced side effects, but the IPAB did not accept it.

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