Keeping India on the ‘priority watch list’ as far as intellectual property policies are concerned, the US administration has said it remains worried about actions and policies in India that appear to favour local manufacturing or Indian IPR owners in a manner that distorts the competitive landscape needed to ensure the development of globally successful and innovative industries.
Taking potshots at the country’s steps to protect the domestic industry, the USTR report said India’s proposed patent rule amendments would introduce new incentives to pressure patent applicants to localise manufacturing in India and require the submission of sensitive business information to India’s Patent Office.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in its 2016 Special 301 Report for India, stated that the US continues to have serious concerns about the ‘innovation climate’ for a number of sectors, including biopharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, software, and green technology. It said the innovators in these sectors face serious challenges in securing and enforcing patents in India.
“This is not only detrimental to these commercial interests, but also impedes economic growth in India, as it discourages companies from entering the Indian market or engaging in the kinds of voluntary and mutually agreed technology development and transfer that India is seeking domestically and in multilateral fora,” the country specific report said.
“India has rejected patents that were granted in many other jurisdictions, including the US. The US urges India to reject policies and practices that amount to barriers that adversely affect not only US companies, but Indian companies as well. The US encourages India instead to adopt policies that both address domestic challenges and support the cutting-edge innovation that can be critical to meeting legitimate domestic policy goals,” it further stated.
“While India has been identified by the US Trade Representative as a priority watch list country, recent policy reversals continue to pose challenges for creators and innovators. We remain hopeful that further engagement between the US and India will lead to a much improved IP environment and allow India to make positive contributions to the global innovation ecosystem,” Mark Elliot, executive vice-president, US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), said in a statement.
The report has called upon India to reconsider Section 3(d) of its Patent Act in light of its domestic priorities of promoting innovation, improving ease of doing business, and strengthening IPR intellectual property rights) systems.
While the US understands that the government of India is approaching the release of the official version of the national IPR Policy, the US continues to urge India to allow interested parties to review and provide comments that would help strengthen the document and provide clarity to assist the implementing authorities to effect substantive changes in India’s IPR regime.