This case describes the challenges pharmaceutical multinational corporations (MNCs) face in understanding and navigating the intricacies of patent law in India and what they can learn from key pharmaceutical intellectual property (IP) cases being fought in the nation's courts. Like most emerging markets, India is both an exciting new market opportunity for MNCs and a challenging and complex environment in which to operate. For instance, while the patent protection afforded to products and processes is stringent, at least on paper, its enforcement has often been problematic for MNCs and has thwarted MNCs efforts to operate profitably in India. The case study discusses some of the recent judgments handed down by the Indian courts in high-profile pharmaceutical IP cases (such as Novartis' Glivec and Bayer's Nexavar) with a view to helping students formulate strategies to overcome value appropriation problems in India.
This case would fit well in a Global Strategic Management, Innovation Management or Technology Strategy course that deals, at least in part, with emerging markets. It would fit well in a model on strategy trade-offs, industry evolution and business performance. Students would be made to contemplate alternate business strategies with the aim of balancing innovation protection and accessibility. This case would be useful to those who have or are contemplating working for an MNC in emerging markets.