India’s IPR regime not regressive: Sitharaman

IPR Policy will promote indigenous knowledge on water conservation steps.

The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy will send a clear message to Washington that India’s IPR regime is not regressive, Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

The comments come ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.S. next month when the issue of greater protection and enforcement of IPR may come up for discussions.

Sitharaman, however, said India does not recognise “unilateral measures” such as the U.S. Special 301 Report that tries to create pressure on countries to enhance IPR protection beyond the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IPRs (TRIPS).

The Special 301 Report — a review of IPR regimes of U.S trading partners — had retained India on the ‘Priority Watch List’ in 2016 for not addressing “long-standing and systemic deficiencies in its (India’s) IPR regime.”

Greater clarity

The IPR Policy, announced ahead of Modi’s visit, has brought greater clarity on India's stance on IPR issues,” she said. “Any patent holder anywhere in the world need not fear that India’s IPR policy is regressive.

This policy will build on the interest for innovation and Research & Development.”

At the same time India will not undertake commitments beyond TRIPS. Though U.S. concerns on India’s IPR regime include “rejections” of patent applications for innovative pharmaceutical products due to “unpredictable” application of Section 3(d) of (Indian) Patents Act, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also said that the IPR Policy will ensure that no changes are made in that Section (which prevents ever-greening of drug patents) as well as the patent-disabling Compulsory Licensing (CL).

Compulsory licensing and norms similar to Section 3(d) are among the flexibilities available in international treaties and TRIPS Agreement to ensure availability of essential and life-saving drugs at affordable prices.

Indigenous knowledge

On other issues, Sitharaman said the IPR Policy will promote India’s indigenous knowledge on water conservation measures — a point raised by Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti in the cabinet meeting.

The Policy will also promote ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy, she said. But it has not included the concept of ‘utility patents’ -- a model less stringent than for patents.

Copyright violations

Citing instances of several copyright violations (of movies and music) in states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra known for entertainment business, Sitharaman said the Centre will work with states for better protection and enforcement of copyrights The Centre will hold roadshows to promote the IPR policy.

The Minister said in certain aspects of addressing issues on e-commerce (tax issues affecting the States) and cyber crime, India was superior to even the U.S.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 3:41:43 AM |

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