An appeal was filed under Section 117-A of the Patents Act, 1970, seeking to set aside the impugned order dated 15.11.2016 of the Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs and obtain a patent for the Indian patent application (application no. 5326/CHENP/2008). The case revolves around an invention initially titled “Phytase Variants” and subsequently amended to “Phytase Variants with Improved Thermostability.” Justice Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy, while partially setting aside the impugned order concerning the rejection of claims, made two critical determinations:
Issue Raised In The Case
The primary issues in this case revolved around the interpretation of Section 3(d) and Section 3(e) of the Patents Act:
Novozymes argued that Section 3(d) is not limited to pharmaceutical products and that biochemical substances like phytase fall within its scope. They contended that improved thermostability enhances the known efficacy of phytase, as it enables easier production and storage in pellet form. Novozymes also asserted that Section 3(e) does not apply to composition claims, especially those dependent on independent claims like their phytase variants.
The Respondent argued that Section 3(d) primarily applies to pharmaceutical products and that enhanced efficacy should be limited to enhanced enzymatic activity in the case of enzymes like phytase. They claimed that improved thermostability is insufficient to establish enhanced efficacy. Regarding Section 3(e), the Respondent contended that composition claims must exhibit properties beyond the aggregation of their components to be eligible for a patent.
The IPAB issued a comprehensive judgment, addressing each of the appellant’s and Respondent’s arguments:
The IPAB’s judgment in the Novozymes case provides valuable insights into the interpretation of Section 3(d) and Section 3(e) of the Patents Act. It establishes that these sections are not limited to pharmaceutical products but also encompass biochemical substances, expanding the scope of patent eligibility.
Moreover, the judgment clarifies that enhanced efficacy for biochemical substances can encompass factors like improved thermostability, offering flexibility in patent applications for enzymes and similar substances. In addition, the decision affirms that Section 3(e) applies not only to compositions formed by aggregating known ingredients but to substances where the composition adds value beyond the individual components.
Overall, this case sets a precedent for the patenting of biochemical substances and composition claims, providing clarity on the interpretation of crucial sections of the Patents Act and offering more opportunities for innovation in the field of biochemistry.