India on US watch list for inadequate IPR protection

India on US watch list for inadequate IPR protection

India on US watch list for inadequate IPR protection

In its annual report on adequacy and effectiveness of US trading partners' protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), the US Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk urged India to improve its IPR regime by providing stronger protection for patents.

China, Russia and Pakistan were among the other countries on US' priority watch list.
"The United States urges India to strengthen its IPR regime and will continue to work with India on these issues in the coming year," said the report released by Kirk.

Retaining India on the priority watch list in 2010, the 54-page report, however, noted that the country continues to make gradual progress on efforts to improve its legislative, administrative, and enforcement infrastructure for IPR.

"India has made incremental improvements on enforcement, and its IP offices continued to pursue promising modernisation efforts. Among other steps, the United States is encouraged by the Indian government's consideration of possible trademark law amendments that would facilitate India's accession to the Madrid Protocol," it said.

The USTR said that it is encouraged by India's continued efforts to reduce patent application backlogs and streamlining patent opposition proceedings, adding that some industries report improved engagement and commitment from enforcement officials on key challenges such as optical disc and book piracy.

Expressing concerns over inadequate legal framework and enforcement, the report said piracy and counterfeiting, including that of medicines, remains widespread and India's enforcement regime ineffective at addressing this problem.

"Amendments are needed to bring India's copyright law in line with international standards, including by implementing the provisions of the WIPO Internet Treaties," the report said, adding that a law designed to address the unauthorised manufacturing and distribution of optical discs remains in draft form and should be enacted in the near term.

The report said that the US encourages India to improve its criminal enforcement regime by providing expeditious judicial disposition of IPR infringement cases and to change the perception that IPR offenses are low priority crimes, it said.

Urging India to improve its IPR regime by providing stronger protection for patents, the report said the country's law that prohibits patents on certain chemical forms is a concern.

"While the full import of this provision remains unclear, it appears to limit the patentability of potentially beneficial innovations, such as temperature-stable forms of a drug or new means of drug delivery," it said.

"The United States also encourages India to provide protection against unfair commercial use as well as unauthorised disclosure of undisclosed tests or other data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical products," the report said.