India ranked at the bottom of Intellectual Property Index

PTI Posted online: Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 at 0000 hrs
Washington : For the second consecutive year, India has been ranked at the bottom of 25 countries in terms of protection and enforcement of intellectual property practices, a US Chamber of Commerce report said today.

India has been a low seven point out of a maximum 30, with the United States topping the Intellectual Property (IP) index with 28.5 per cent.

A report by the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) of the US Chamber of Commerce maps the IP environment of 25 countries from around the world utilising 30 factors, which are indicative of an IP environments that fosters growth and development.

"India, which again finished last in the second edition of the Index, continues to allow for the deterioration in its IP climate," the report said adding that India continued to score lowest, most notably in categories relating to patents, copyrights, and international treaties.

China shows improvements in certain aspects of its patent regime, however, its overall IP environment continued to see challenges, particularly in regard to trade secret protection and enforcement.

The United States received the highest overall score, but came in third after the United Kingdom and France in the enforcement category.

Canada's treatment of pharmaceutical patents, copyright laws, and unwillingness to ratify international IP treaties resulted in significantly lower scores than other upper-income economies, the report said.

India continues to have the weakest IP environment of all countries included in the Index, the report said.

"Despite the 2010 declaration by the then-President of India that the next 10 years will be India's 'Decade of Innovation', the continued use of compulsory licenses, patent revocations, and weak legislative and enforcement mechanisms raise serious concerns about India's commitment to promote innovation and protect creators," it said.

According to the report, in the bio pharmaceutical space, Indian policy continued to breach international standards of the protection of innovation and patent rights, revoking patents generally accepted around the world and announcing that other patented medicines are being considered for compulsory licenses.

Most notable was the April decision by the Supreme Court of India on the patentability of the anti-cancer drug Glivec, the court held that the drug did not meet patentability standards as imposed by the Indian Patent Act's Section 3(d) regarding "incremental innovation" and limiting patent protection to what is specifically disclosed, again in contradiction to global norms, it said.

"This is despite Glivec being recognised as a breakthrough drug and given protection in 40 jurisdictions around the world.

"Given the prominence and size of India's generic pharmaceutical industry, other countries have taken notice and begun to introduce similar provisions into their own laws and regulations," said David Hirschmann, President and CEO of the GIPC.

"A robust IP system provides the critical foundation needed for nations wishing to advance their economic and social progress, and provide assurances to consumers that the products they use are authentic, safe, and effective," said Hirschmann.

"By highlighting countries that are leading or lagging in fostering a strong IP framework, the GIPC Index provides a clear and objective tool for policy makers to strengthen innovative potential and for business leaders to assess risk and investment," he added.

According to Hirschmann, the United States may lead the overall ranking, but has fallen behind in its enforcement efforts.

"Therefore, we urge the Obama administration and Congress to expand on current enforcement programs and allocate dedicated resources throughout the government to effectively enforce IP rights and protect consumers," he said.