Expressing its disappointment with India for not making adequate changes in its IP laws and regulations despite announcing its National IPR policy last year, the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office has once again placed the country on the ‘priority watch’ list in this year’s edition of the Special 301 report.

“Almost a year after the announcement of its long-anticipated National IPR Policy, India continues to dismiss the need for substantive changes to its IP laws and regulations. This is disappointing at best and distracts from some of the more positive steps found in the IPR policy,” says the report, released on Friday.

New Delhi, however, maintains that its IPR laws are in total compliance with the global IP agreement TRIPS and no country had the right to say otherwise.

Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, at a world IP day event on Thursday, emphasized that the country’s IPR legislation was totally TRIPS compliant and it did not have to “give explanations’’ to any other country.

Being placed on the ‘priority watch’ list means that India continues to figure among countries that the USTR feels have “serious intellectual property rights deficiencies” and do not give adequate protection to American companies.

While the US does not threaten action against countries on the ‘priority watch list’, US laws say that retaliatory measures may be taken if a country slips further and is listed as a priority country — which is the worst categorisation.

“We neither recognize nor feel threatened by such internal reports brought out by a particular country. There is no way a country can get away by taking unilateral action against us as we will complain to the World Trade Organization, which prohibits such measures,” a government official told BusinessLine.

The US 301 report further said that the US will continue to encourage the Indian government to address the biggest gaps in its IP protections, including “uncertainties and challenges in the patent system (with particular regard for computer-related inventions (CRI) and Section 3(d) of the Patent Act), the need to modernise copyright laws, and the need for regulatory data protections.”

India has already told the US that it will not drop Section 3 (d) of its patent Act, which denies patents on items that are not significantly different from their older versions.


Last modified on Monday, 14 August 2017 06:44
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