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Special 301 Report - US puts India on Priority Watch List

Special 301 Report - US puts India on Priority Watch List

CONTEXT:

  • The United States placed India and eight other countries on the Priority Watch List for IP protection and enforcement.

Special 301 Report:

  • It is a report on the adequacy and effectiveness of US trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

  • The office of the USTR reviewed more than 100 trading partners for this year’s “Special 301 Report”, and eight on Priority Watch List and 23 on the Watch List.

  • The United States placed India and eight other countries on the Priority Watch List for IP protection and enforcement

  • Other countries put in list: Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela.

Reason for putting into List:

  • Intellectual property rights incentivize our creators, manufacturers, and innovators to invent new products and technologies.

  • Balance the interests: The laws, policies and practices that protect those rights must appropriately balance the interests of creators with those seeking to use their creations.

  • Failing to adequately and effectively protect those rights in foreign markets hurts the US economy, the dynamism of America.

  • Over the past year, India has remained inconsistent in its progress on intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement.

  • While India’s enforcement of IP in the online sphere has gradually improved, a lack of concrete benefits for innovators and creators persists, which continues to undermine their efforts.

  • India remains one of the world’s most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of IP.

Consequences:

  • USA said these countries will be the subject of intense bilateral engagement.

Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health:

  • United States said while recognising the role of intellectual property protection in the development of new medicines.

  • It respects a trading partner’s right to protect public health and, in particular to promote access to medicines for all.

  • The United States has been closely monitoring China’s progress in implementing its commitments under the United States-China Economic and Trade Agreement.

IPR Issues in India:

  • In India, the USTR said patent issues continue to be of particular concern as long-standing issues remain for innovative industries.

  • The potential threat of patent revocations

  • Lack of presumption of patent validity

  • Narrow patentability criteria under the India Patents Act burdens companies across different sectors.

  • Moreover, patent applicants continue to confront costly and time-consuming pre and post-grant oppositions

  • Long waiting periods to receive patent approval and excessive reporting requirements.

  • Stakeholders continue to express concerns over vagueness in the interpretation of the India Patents Act.

Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement:

  • It is an international agreement on intellectual property rights.

  • It introduced global minimum standards for protecting and enforcing nearly all forms of intellectual property rights (IPR), including those for patents.

  • The Agreement covers most forms of intellectual property including

    • Patents,

    • Copyright,

    • Trademarks,

    • Geographical indications,

    • Industrial designs,

    • Trade secrets, &

    • Exclusionary rights over new plant varieties.

  • It came into force in 1995.

  • Binding: On World Trade Organization (WTO) member

SOURCE: Indian Express