India Sticks to its Guns on IP Rights Despite US Concerns
Asks discontented parties to take their woes to multilateral trade channels
NO VIOLATION Those who are making these (allegations), are not challenging that there is any violation of the TRIPS SUDHANSHUPANDEY Joint Secretary, Commerce Ministry
Mumbai: A week after the US Chamber of Commerce released its Global Intellectual Property Report that named India among worst countries in terms of IP rights, the commerce ministry has stood its ground by asking those discontented with the country’s IP regime to take up the issue at multilateral trade channels.
“We are maintaining the position that India is TRIPS (The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) compliant and if any country thinks we are in violation they can raise this at the multilateral forum,” said Sudhanshu Pandey, joint secretary in the commerce ministry.
Talking to ET on the sidelines of a summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade facilitation agreement, Pandey said: “Those who are making these (allegations), are not challenging that there is any violation of the TRIPS. Some countries are trying to push the regime to TRIPS but that is what we are not signatory to. Our commitment is to TRIPS and that is the position we have maintained.”
The annual report of Global Intellectual Property Centre, an organisation under the US Chamber of Commerce, has ranked India 43 among 45 countries as part of its global IP report card. According to the report, United States ranks number one in enforcing IP rights, followed by United Kingdom and Germany, while the bottom three countries are Venezuela, Pakistan and India.
The concerns over India’s IP regime raised in the report include National Intellectual Property Rights Policy not addressing fundamental weaknesses in India’s IP framework, lengthy pre-grant opposition proceedings in place, previous use of compulsory licensing for commercial and non-emergency situations, and limited participation in international IP treaties.
On the issue of Compulsory Licensing (CL), Pandey said the country has behaved responsibly. Countering the charges of activist groups that have accused the Indian government of being timid to US pressure and rejecting the new applications, Pandey sa- id India is a responsible country and takes responsible positions.
As calls of protectionism grow across the western world, the commerce ministry is taking a wait-and-watch approach with India’s trade partners such as the UK and the USA.