INDIA: Minimal Changes Under PM Modi

Positive Rhetoric – Inconsistent Results

India has the potential to be one of the world’s leading markets for intellectual property (IP) industries. After weathering the global economic slowdown, India has emerged as the fastest growing global economy.  With a new National IPR Policy and a new slogan–“Creative India: Innovative India”–India is positioning itself to be a pro-IP, knowledge-driven economy capable of competing with developed and developing countries in an array of industries.

The many public statements by Prime Minister Modi and other senior government officials are encouraging.  However, he policies and decisions against the protection of IP rights in India over the past year are inconsistent with India’s public rhetoric, calling into question the country’s commitment to promoting innovation and continuing its path toward creating a knowledge-based economy.

It will be incumbent upon the government to give effect to the full spirit and scope of the National IPR Policy, which recommends a host of measures including the periodic review and changes to the existing IPR legal and regulatory framework and creating a credible IPR enforcement system.

Multi-Industry Impact

  • In the U.S. Chamber’s International Intellectual Property Index, comparing IP environments across the globe, India consistently ranks near the bottom. Still, India ranked first in terms of the largest percentage improvement made by any country measured on the most recent edition of the U.S. Chamber International IP Index. While India’s score went up by 5 percentage points in this edition compared to the 2017 edition, its relative score went up by 20 percent. With this, India outpaced China making it the most improved country this year – much in line with its performance on indices such as the Global Innovation Index. While ranking 44 out of 50 economies measured, for the first time, India has broken free of the bottom ten percent of economies measured.
  • After granting its first compulsory license for a kidney cancer medication in 2012, India continues to consider applications for compulsory licenses under various provisions of its patent lawcalling into question the country’s commitment to innovation and the promotion of a knowledge-based economy.
  • A trend of patent revocations and denials of patents for improved pharmaceutical products continues unabated.  Other sectors are now similarly threatened as India reconsiders the scope of patentable subject matter under its patent law.
  • In 2016, India recently reversed course on the patentability of computer-related inventions and is considering adopting guidelines to promote access to Standard Essential Patents potentially prescribing “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” licensing terms.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture recently released a Notification which sets a uniform “fair, reasonable and affordable” price for IP protected transgenic cotton seed and establishes standard terms and conditions for GM Technology Licensing Agreements.  This Notification has been placed on hold to allow for formal stakeholder consultations.
  • This pattern of erosion of IP rights and the absence of transparency in policy making impacts every creative and innovative industry, both within and outside of India’s borders.

GIPC Engagement

The Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) leads a broad-based IP industry coalition that seeks to strengthen the protection and enforcement of IP in India.  The GIPC works with both the Government of India and United States Government to foster relationships, open dialogue and provide the necessary tools and education to promote IP rights in India.

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