Swiss pharma major Novartis AG informed the Madras High Court that it agreed with the Centre's proposal that Intellectual Property Appellate Board could exclude the Technical Member from its bench to hear the company's appeal against rejection of its patent application.

Novartis AG informed the Madras High Court that it agreed with the Centre's proposal that Intellectual Property Appellate Board could exclude the Technical Member from its bench to hear the company's appeal against rejection of its patent application.  The government on October 8 informed the court that the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) bench would comprise its Chairman and Vice-Chairman, excluding the Technical Member.

Novartis has objected to S Chandrasekaran sitting in the bench as the Technical Member to hear its appeal on the ground he had already deposed in an affidavit on behalf of the Union Government before the high court on a connected litigation. Additional Solicitor General V T Gopalan said the appointment of a new Technical Member would be a cumbersome procedure and may take at least 12-15 months. Hence, the court may direct the constitution of a bench comprising Chairman and Vice-Chairman as a special case. This bench may be at liberty to seek technical inputs as and when required.

Division Bench Comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice V Ramasubramanian senior Counsel Shanthi Bhushan,  submitted that section 84 (2) of the Trade Marks Act provided for constitution of the IPAB Bench. Section 84 (3) of the Act stated that notwithstanding anything stated in section 84 (2), the Chairman may discharge the functions of a Judicial Member or Technical Member as the case may be. Hence, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman could hear the appeal.