U.S. trade nominee for ‘aggressive’ steps on IP

Posted On Friday, 17 March 2017 10:29


Incoming U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers this week that he would take “aggressive” measures to protect intellectual property rights in India. IPR protection has been a bone of contention between India and the U.S. for years now, and several American companies and lawmakers have been pressing the administration for stricter measures.

First question

At the hearing for his confirmation as USTR in the Senate Finance Committee, the first question that Mr. Lighthizer faced was on India, from Chairman Orrin G Hatch. “Now what can you do differently to secure intellectual property rights protection in the country of India?” Mr. Hatch asked. Lighthizer said, “I think we need a policy that is as aggressive as we can have. There are a whole lot of areas where we are at risk in intellectual property protection; including with India. Slow and inefficient patent protection, theft of intellectual properly, insufficient property protection.” New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez said: “I think it's a great opportunity for us to build greater economic ties with India, but I have a real problem with their lack of protection of intellectual property rights…”

Watch list

The USTR annual report on IP rights has kept India on priority watch list for years now, even as U.S. companies have sought stricter measures. Sec 3 ( d ) of India's Patent Act prevents pharmaceutical companies from continually extending patents by making minor changes in the product and American companies find India’s compulsory licensing provisions harsh. The new trade policy released by the USTR earlier this month calls for measures to increase market access for American products and services. American policy makers have problems with India’s copyrights laws too, but India maintains that its IPR regime is compliant with WTO standards. “There has been only one instance of issue of a Compulsory License (CL), which should not warrant a discussion on unilateral trade sanctions especially as the action was TRIPS compliant,” said Ridhika Batra, Director USA at Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

“The provision of 3(d) in the Indian Patents Act and CL provisions have worried international pharmaceutical companies since the amendment to the Indian Patent Act in 2005, that it may encourage other developing and even some developed countries to introduce similar provisions in their laws. Such bilateral pressures are now seen globally as pressure tactics on developing countries driven by a few ‘big’ international pharma companies,” Ms. Batra said. “Indian policy framework is driven by the needs of its people,” she said, adding that while all its policies are within the framework of international treaties and agreements, “each country is sovereign and may adopt or reflect or emulate as per its specific requirements.”

News source: The Hindu

Google News

Like Us on Facebook

Web Hosting
Open Chat
Close chat
Hello! Thanks for visiting us. Please press Start button to chat with our support :)