Mediation fails in Roche-Cipla patent battle

A high-stakes patent dispute between Hoffman La Roche and Indian generic drug maker Cipla over Roche's lung cancer drug Tarceva (erlotinib) hit a snag when a mediator appointed by the Dehli high court reported a failed agreement between the two companies. The case is being closely watched as an indicator of how India will interpret its patent laws, as the first big-ticket patent infringement suit since 2005, when the country became compliant with Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights. It's the first high-profile case to be referred to a mediation process, which followed a high court ruling that Cipla's generic version did not infringe on Roche's India patent for the drug, a ruling which Roche then appealed. The long tussle began after Roche was granted a patent in India on erlotinib in 2007, and Cipla soon after announced its intent to launch a generic. The outcome of the mediation would have set a legal precedent for at least 10 other pending cases. According to the Times of India, the case now goes back to a high court division bench where it will he heard all over again.