In March 2009, the Indian Patent Office refused Gilead's patent application for the drug oseltamivir. A skeleton argument (below) for anyone wanting to oppose the oseltamivir patent was made available by Tahir Amin of I-MAK in 2006. Many of the grounds raised in the skeleton argument were adopted by the Controller when refusing the patent.

The importance of access to oseltamivir became an issue in 2006 when the avian flu (also known as H5N1 or 'bird flu') crises threatened to become a global pandemic. 

2009 has seen the emergence of the H1N1 strain of the virus (also termed "swine flu"). Along with relenza (zanamavir), oseltamivir is considered to be an important drug in the fight against the H1N1 virus.

As with the bird flu crises, countries are scrambling again to access oseltamivir. Fortunately, following the Indian Patent Office's decision, generic versions of the drug are available.



"Taming of the Flu: Working Through The Tamiflu Patents in India", setting out options for the Indian government in the event of patenting of oseltamivir


Patent Oppositions

Indian Patent Office Decision for oseltamivir patent [pdf]

Indian pre-grant patent opposition skeleton arguments [pdf]


Related Reading

"Avian Drug Flu: Who Owns the Patent?", Hindu Business Line

"Avian Flu Drugs: Patent Questions", WIPO Magazine 

World Health Organisation page on avian flu 

"Pharma companies run litigation risk", Financial Express