Yet again, USTR places India on its Priority Watch List in Special report 301 stating the lack of sufficient measurable improvements to its IP framework that negatively affects U.S. right holders across the world. It points out that India support and voices concerns over IP at various multilateral forums which generates skeptism over India’s stand on innovation and growth policies.
The report criticise India for not implementing stricter IP enforcement, questions India’s progressive patentability criteria and continue to push for TRIPS plus measures like patent linkage. Report made contradictory statements on use of public health safeguards like Compulsory License by stating on one hand that United States respects its trading partners’ rights to grant compulsory licenses in a manner consistent with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health and on the other hand mention several times in the report that such licenses are grave threat to its companies.
US growing interest of protecting trade secrets and use it as means to monopolize the market was reflected in this report too. The report mentioned that India has an an outdated and insufficient trade secrets legal framework. Read an article here (http://wtocentre.iift.ac.in/workingpaper/Trade%20Secret%20Protection%20in%20India-%20The%20policy%20debate.pdf) on policy debate on trade secret protection in India and is India ready for this.
Few problematic excerpts concerning India and pharmaceuticals from the report,
India’s National Manufacturing Policy promotes the compulsory licensing of patented technologies as a means of technology transfer with respect to green technologies. Such policies, which India has sought to multilateralize in United Nations (UN) negotiations, will discourage, rather than promote, investment in and dissemination of green technology innovation, including those technologies that contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. (Pg 24)
India remains one of the world’s most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of IP. Despite positive statements and initiatives upon which the Modi Administration has embarked, the pace of reform has not matched high-level calls to foster innovation and promote creativity. India has yet to take steps to address longstanding patent issues that are affecting innovative industries. These include the application of narrow patentability criteria, challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry due to Section 3(d) of the India Patents Act, and the issuance of problematic guidelines that appear to restrict the patentability of computer implemented inventions. Innovative companies remain concerned about the potential threat posed to their IP through the possible use of compulsory licensing and patent revocation, as well as overly broad criteria for issuing such licenses and revocations under the India Patents Act. Across all industries, patent applicants face costly and time-consuming patent opposition hurdles, long timelines for receiving patents, and excessive reporting requirements. (Pg 42)
In the pharmaceutical sector, India lacks an effective system for notifying interested parties of marketing approvals for follow-on pharmaceuticals in a manner that would allow for the early resolution of potential patent disputes. Innovative industries also face pressure to localize the manufacture of their products, including due to the Drug Price Control Order and to high customs duties directed to IP-intensive products, such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, information and communications technology products, solar energy equipment, and capital goods. (Pg 42)
Visit here (https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/301/2017%20Special%20301%20Report%20FINAL.PDF) to read the full report.