India’s national intellectual property regime (IPR) policy announced a year ago is a “good first step”, but the country needs to address the gaps in it to attract more foreign direct investment and global talent, a US industry representative said today. “The National IPR Policy is a good first step. Now, we look to the Government of India to follow through on goals such as educating entrepreneurs about IP rights, streamlining IP registration processes, and facilitating IP licensing arrangements,” Patrick Kilbride, executive director of International Intellectual Property of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), told PTI.
In his interview on the occasion of the first anniversary of rolling out of India’s ambitious IPR policy, Kilbride said these are all critical if Indian innovators and creators are to invest their time, money and passion to bring new ideas to market on a scale to reach all Indians. “India will be unable to take full advantage of the transformative benefits of a strong IP system unless and until it addresses gaps in its IP laws and regulations,” he said, underlining that to him it seems that “influential stakeholders” are content with India’s IP laws as they stand currently. “This political resistance is what government officials must overcome to continue investing in IP and fulfil India’s latent potential for innovative growth and high-value job creation,” said the representative of the American industry on IP policies.
Both the US companies and the Trump administration have been expressing concerns over some aspects of the Indian IPR policy. Noting that the American industry welcomes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interest in improving the business climate in India, he said the US industry thinks that one of the best ways the Indian government can make substantial progress is to build upon the initial IPR policy with further reforms to IP laws and regulations.
“We do not see the IPR policy as a finished product,” Kilbride said in response to a question. In its current form, it does not fully addresses structural concerns regarding patent eligibility, including for computer-related inventions (CRI) and new forms and uses of bio-pharmaceutical products (Section 3(d) of the Patent Act); regulatory data protection; modernization of copyright laws, and appropriate civil and criminal remedies for IP infringement to provide a deterrent-level of enforcement. “The IPR policy is a good start – especially because it prioritises empowering local entrepreneurs – but it is only useful to the international community if India is willing to put further policies into place to address the systemic issues that the international community is most concerned about,” he asserted. “To paraphrase an influential US Federal Circuit judge, the economics of innovation requires that IP rights provide a reliable basis for investment – this is the lens through which we hope the Indian government will examine its IP policy,” he said.
During communication with the Indian government officials, Kilbride said, the US industry continues to advocate broad patent eligibility reforms. These include computer-related inventions (CRI) and new forms and uses of bio-pharmaceutical products (Section 3(d) of the Patent Act); regulatory data protection; modernisation of copyright laws, and appropriate civil and criminal remedies for IP infringement to provide a deterrent-level of enforcement.
“We welcome the Indian government’s action on these items,” he said, adding that GIPC will continue to demonstrate the value of IP for India.
“In discussions, we often hear others’ point to TRIPS as though that is the goal,” he noted, referring to his discussions with the Indian officials. “And though we believe that in certain respects India falls short of the minimum IP standards set forth in TRIPS, that is really not the point,” he observed. “The question is: How much is India willing to invest in its economic future, and in the health of its own workforce? Is it willing to take the steps necessary to invest in robust IP standards that will spur the high-value job creation and Indian-led innovation that we know the Indian public desires and deserves?” Kilbride asked.