Dr Reddy's, AstraZeneca may settle patent case out of court

Dr Reddy's Lab's long-standing patent dispute with Europe's AstraZeneca over a drug to treat heartburn may be resolved out of court following a similar settlement between the European drug maker and Israel's Teva

Indian pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd's long-standing patent dispute with Europe's AstraZeneca over a drug to treat heartburn may be resolved out of court following a similar settlement between the European drug maker and Israel's Teva, feel market watchers.

Dr Reddy's and AstraZeneca are at loggerheads over alleged infringement of the latter's heartburn drug Nexium and experts feel the settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals would help the Indian pharma company's case.

AstraZeneca has filed a lawsuit against Dr Reddy's alleging that the Indian company's generic version of a heartburn drug infringes on its $4 billion drug, Nexium.

Angel Broking’s vice president and research specialist (pharmaceuticals), Sarabjit Kour Nangra said that there is a possibility of settlement between AstraZeneca and Dr Reddy's. "Similar settlement out of court could be possible between the two companies," Mr Nangra told PTI.

According to Satish Kanteti, joint managing director, Zen Securities, the Indian pharma company has been making deals with multinational companies (MNCs) for the past two years and may go for a settlement with AstraZeneca also.

"Even AstraZeneca may prefer for a settlement considering the size of the market of Nexium. They may not risk the $4-billion Nexium market," Mr Kanteti said.

He, however, said that the settlement depends on how strong Dr Reddy's claim is and pointed out that Teva is more aggressive than Dr Reddy's in terms of marketing.

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Now, actors resort to marketing gimmicks to promote films

Marketing activity for non-mass media promotions has now caused quite a flutter among the movie-making fraternity and has triggered a new race for fresh and more aggressive marketing methods

Taking a cue from the advertising industry, Bollywood actors are now seen adopting unique and innovative marketing strategies to promote their films, reports PTI.

Gone are the days when the marketing and publicity of a cinematic venture was limited to illustrious film posters, giant billboards, movie merchandising, television advertisements, pre-release media hype, etc.

Superstar Aamir Khan travelled across the country in disguise, Shahid Kapoor and Genelia D'Souza spent a night together in a car, Amitabh Bachchan read news on a TV channel, while actress Neha Dhupia threw condoms at a college crowd, all this to publicise their films.

After these below-the-line activities, marketing parlance for non-mass media promotions, were successful in creating a positive buzz around these films, it has now caused quite a flutter among the movie-making fraternity and triggered a new race for fresh and more aggressive marketing methods.

"Bollywood is now using the latest marketing techniques to attract more eyeballs. Previously they used to think they knew everything about marketing films and assumed that just putting up billboards and media advertisements were enough to promote their films," advertising guru Alyque Padamsee told PTI.

Mr Padmasee says that he approves the current trend in Bollywood. "It's good for the industry that they have finally realised the importance of marketing and are innovating. Whether you are selling a movie or 'bhelpuri', you need to have proper marketing," he says.

As part of his unique strategy promoting '3 Idiots', Aamir Khan roamed around the country for two weeks in disguise and challenged his fans to spot him.

Similarly, to hype his pet-project 'Veer' and to change his 'bad boy of Bollywood' image, actor Salman Khan had recently announced a hunt for unsung heroes who had performed acts of heroism in their lives.

Also, megastar Amitabh Bachchan (often called ‘Big B’), who is cast as a media magnate in upcoming film 'Rann' was recently seen reading news on a TV channel giving a year-end news roundup.

The film's director Ram Gopal Verma says he plans to distribute a ten-page daily newspaper 'Rann Times' till the commercial release of the film.

"Good marketing has produced good results at the box office. That old belief that the merit of the film shall eventually emerge victorious has long since been overridden.

By the time you wait for the merit to show its face, five other films have shown their merits," blogged the Big B.

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Airtel DTH ad misleading, Tata Sky tells ASCI

The Consumer Complaints Council of ASCI has concluded that Airtel’s advertisement is misleading, as the viewer of the TV commercial is led to believe that Airtel Digital TV has superior picture quality because of MPEG4 or DVBS2 technology

Direct-to-home (DTH) television services provider Tata Sky has approached the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) seeking action against its competitor Airtel Digital's ad campaign, alleging that the advertisement was misleading, reports PTI.

The campaign 'Dil Titli', starring Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, was launched in August 2009 by Bharti Airtel's DTH subsidiary and the ad claimed that the service provided superior picture quality because of Moving Picture Experts Group-standard 4 (MPEG4) and Digital Video Broadcasting-Satellite-Second Generation (DVBS2) technologies.

"We are trying to convince the media and the public at large that the claim that MPEG4 technology provides superior picture quality is false. It is just a compression technology and makes no difference to the picture quality," said Tata Sky chief marketing officer Vikram Mehra.

The ASCI, in a reply to Tata Sky's complaint, said, "As per their (Consumer Complaints Council - CCC) decision, the complaint has been upheld as the advertisement contravened Chapter 1.4 of the ASCI code. The CCC concluded that the advertisement is misleading, as the viewer of the TV commercial is led to believe that Airtel Digital TV has superior picture quality because of MPEG4 or DVBS2."

When contacted, an Airtel Digital spokesperson said, "We did receive some correspondence from ASCI and we have responded to that. Our stand is that MPEG4 and DVBS2 are some of the many features that we offer, that helps us offer superior picture quality in comparison to ordinary technology."

ASCI is a self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry and deals with consumer and industry complaints against advertisements.

MPEG-4 is a patented collection of methods defining compression of audio and visual (AV) digital data, while DVB-S2 is a second generation standard directed to optimise satellite transmission and reception of digital content.

DTH operators in the country use different compression technologies ranging from MPEG2 to MPEG4 to provide digital television signals to consumers through satellite. Compression technologies determine a service provider's number of channels to consumers, but have no impact on video quality.

Airtel Digital, which was launched in October 2008, now has pan-Indian operations.

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