Washington, Feb 13 (PTI) Asserting that India is progressing in the right direction on creating a stronger intellectual property rights environment, a top advocacy group representing Indian and US companies has sought a bilateral dialogue between the world’s two largest democracies.
While, the Indian government “has taken several important steps to implement IPR policy, some industry concerns remain unaddressed,” Mukesh Aghi, president of the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) said in a written submission to the US Trade Representative (USTR) as part of the latter’s Special 3-1 Review.
The Indian government “should initiate a bilateral IP-Dialogue to signify the importance of IP for an enhanced commercial and strategic partnership,” USISPF said.
India is progressing in the right direction on creating a stronger IP environment, USISPF said as it commended New Delhi on the positive steps it has taken in 2017 to implement its 2016 IPR policy.
“We recognise that India advanced six spots last year to be ranked 60th out of 127 countries on the Global Innovation Index (co-authored by Cornell University and the World Intellectual Property Organisation – WIPO), and patent applications in India are increasing at double digit rates,” it said.
Continued progress supported by consistent government-to-government engagement/exchanges on a variety of IPR issues, including the US-India Trade Policy Forum are important to support and better understand the efforts and progress India is making, it added.
At the same time, USISPF listed some areas of concerns coming from its members.
India, it said, should produce stronger and clearer legal provisions and greater enforcement related to IPR infringements to better protect patent rights and promote predictability in the market.
Noting that bio-pharmaceutical companies continue to see infringements of their patents, USISPF said such infringements are often detected in the marketplace, and therefore, much of the damage is already done by the time the patent holders seek recourse.
Pharmaceutical companies, it said, have voiced their concern regarding the pending threat of stricter price controls for patented drugs.
In its submission, USISPF said that it has urged India to desist from introducing compulsory licensing of patented technologies or imposing artificial price ceilings, which would discourage investment in innovation and new technologies.
India should not drop the ‘Protection of Regulatory Data’ under the Pesticides Management Bill, it said.
Stating that preventing online pirated content and preserving copyright is a principal concern, USISPF said India’s lack of an explicit safe harbour framework for online intermediaries leaves Internet companies unprotected from third party liability in India for user actions in case of copyright infringements.
It urged India to develop an enforcement framework that facilitates the removal of copyright works online and that does not necessarily put the liability on the Internet companies but on the individual infringers themselves.
As India may consider encryption policies, USISPF urged the development of a policy that does not mandate companies releasing their encryption keys or other sensitive intellectual property.
Aghi said the US industry’s intellectual property experience differs by sector.
For many of its members, their IP experience in India has been positive, and notably they have not faced serious issues, such as state-sponsored IP theft, as in other world markets.
“However, in sectors such as pharmaceutical, agriculture, media and the digital economy, there remain valid concerns,” he said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.