The Business Standard and the Economic Times have both reported that Cipla, one of India's biggest pharmaceutical companies, has served a legal notice on the George Washington University (GWU) for allegedly allowing the GWU-CII summit to be used by Gilead to make representations, that were aimed at influencing sub-judice patent litigation pertaining to Tenofovir, the patent application of which was rejected by the Patent Office following a sucessfull opposition by Cipla. The appeal against the decision of the Patent Office is pending before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board and not the Delhi High Court as reported by the BS.
Cipla's allegations against GWU is that the University allowed itself to be used by "some multinational pharmaceutical companies to try and enhance and publicise their own products and influence India's judicial process." Cipla's main grouse seems to be the alleged fact that Gilead was allowed to make a presentation on its case for Tenofovir despite the fact that litigation is pending before a judicial forum. Cipla has allegedly demanded a written apology from GWU saying it does not endorse Gilead's views on the matter and in case GWU refuses to issue such an apology, Cipla has threatened to move Court to seek relief. It is not clear from either of the new-reports as to the nature of the legal wrong that has provoked this legal notice against GWU. While there may be moral or ethical issues involved in this controversy I find it difficult to pin-point any legal issues.
Cipla's letter adds to the list of controversies surrounding the GWU-CII Summit.
We have blogged about the same over here.