Pharmaceutical company Natco Pharma has sued Shamnad Basheer, the founder of the Intellectual Property focused blog Spicy IP, in Delhi High Court, seeking a permanent injunction and Rs 25,00,000 in damages for allegedly publishing defamatory and libelous statements about the company, reports LegallyIndia.
According to the lawsuit uploaded by LegallyIndia, Natco claims that Shamnad had published defamatory and libelous articles against the company in his blog, and had given his opinion to several electronic & print media including newspapers, which contains false, derogatory and defamatory statements about them, which were reckless and callous and have therefore caused incalculable damage to them.
Natco-Bristol-Myers Squibb lawsuit: At the crux of it seems to be the SpicyIP’s coverage and analysis of the Natco and the US-based pharma major Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) lawsuit.
For those whose are not familiar with the lawsuit, Natco had developed an anti-cancer product called dasatinib monohydrate, which was to be used to treat blood cancer. However, BMS currently holds a patent (No 209237) in India with respect to dasatinib while Natco had no such patent yet. BMS filed a lawsuit against Natco in 2009, alleging that Natco had infringed on their patent and seeked necessary damages. Natco however claimed that its product was different and was therefore not covered by the patent. In addition, it had also filed a counter claim against BMS in 2009, challenging the validity of the said patent. The judgement for both the cases are yet to be announced by the court.
Natco launched the product in May 2012, following which BMS filed for an interim injunction claiming that Natco had denied in a written statement to the company that they have no intentions to launch the product. BMS asked the court to restrain Natco from manufacturing and marketing such product in the future. The court directed Natco to be bound by their written statement but didn’t pass any injunction order. BMS also filed a contempt petition against Natco for allegedly selling these products in the country, in spite of denying any such intentions before.
Natco-Shamnad Basheer: Coming back to this lawsuit, Natco claims that Shamnad Basheer had a secret understanding with BMS and had published few articles about the above mentioned lawsuit between July 31, 2012- August 3, 2012. The company claims that Basheer had analysed the court case and had passed several scathing and defamatory comments in these articles, intended to malign the reputation of Natco in the public eye and create a prejudiced situation in an otherwise fair and reasonable trial.
Articles in Question: Natco also claimed that Basheer had timed these articles just before the hearing of their case, indicating that the articles were deliberate and were published to influence the case proceedings. Among the articles mentioned in the lawsuit include:
- Patent “Perception”: A Contemptuous Natco? - where Basheer had stated that Natco may have committed a fatal legal blunder and they had a reckless legal strategy among others. He had also stated that two interim orders had already been passed prohibiting Natco from marketing any copy of Dasatinib, while Natco claims that the court is yet to announce their judgement on these cases.
- Breaking News: Natco Admits to Bad Faith and BMS attempts Patent Linkage! - where Basheer had stated that Natco had admitted that it had lied in its response to BMS’s lawsuit. He had also uploaded a copy of entire pleadings, including a copy of the complaint, the written statement and the reply to the contempt lawsuit filed by BMS. Natco claims that Basheer had a secret understanding with BMS to receive this pleadings copy and publish it on his blog.
No Independent Enquiry Done? Natco also claims that Basheer never contacted them to seek any clarification regarding these lawsuits, before publishing the above mentioned articles on his blog. In addition, Natco also suggested that nothing in the articles suggested that Basheer had conducted an independent enquiry into the matter.
What is Natco Asking?
- As per the lawsuit, Natco is seeking a permanent injunction to restrain the defendant, and all others acting on his behalf, including his agents, directors, officers, servants, employees, and partners to publish, write or speak any defamatory remark about the company or the lawsuit across all media platforms including Electronic media.
- It’s also seeking the removal of all the defamatory articles about the company from SpicyIP.com and direct Basheer to block the links to the stories about the company published between July 31-August 2, 2012.
- Damages of Rs 25,00,000 for publishing these defamatory content and causing harm to the company, along with costs for the legal proceedings.
Download – Lawsuit petition (Uploaded by Legally India)