ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Supreme Court Judgment

‘Lawmaking’ in the South

Bringing together the various aspects of and issues related to the recent Supreme Court judgment rejecting Novartis's patent for Glivec, this writeup introduces a set of articles discussing pharmaceutical patents and their evergreening, Section 3(d) of the Indian Patents Act, as well as the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement. Even as it does all of this, the write-up places the observations in a wider context that tells a story of lawmaking in the south.

In getting these articles together, I owe a special thanks to colleagues at EPW itself in being supportive of the idea of a “collaborative” article and patiently navigating these contributions through to print. It was a delight to have the desired set of contributors and to have them respond swiftly.

The idea for this collaborative set of articles emerged at an impro;mptu panel at the Historical Materialism conference (New Delhi, April 2013). Occurring soon after the Supreme Court’s judgment1 rejecting Novartis’s patent for Glivec (also called Gleevec in some countries, such as the US), many expressed a desire to archive the moment, not only in terms of drawing out how the judgment illuminates big pharmas’ practices, but in challenging and correcting narratives about how the south, in general, and India, in particular, are navigating their global intellectual ;property (IP) obligations. Further, there was a need to testify to the agency of groups involved, noting how persistent ;opposition to the Trade-Related ;Aspects of Intellectual Propety Rights (TRIPS) Agreement has never ceded to its ;domination.

The articles that follow reflect on different aspects of the case, from the problematic discovery of Glivec to the litigation and the campaign. In this introduction, I simultaneously highlight certain overlapping themes across these contributions while placing the observations in a wider context.

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