India’s IP law robust, rigorously enforced: Rao

Indian envoy writes to members of India Caucus.

By American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC: Indian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao has told members of U.S Congress that “India has a well-settled, stable and robust intellectual property regime” and the “India Patents Act specifically, is one of the most comprehensive acts” that is “rigorously enforced.”

In a letter to the members of the members of India Caucus Tuesday, Rao wrote that Indian laws are “in compliance with the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights” of World Trade Organization.

The ambassador’s letter, which was released by the Embassy of India Tuesday, was the latest in a series of missives from both sides on the trade and intellectual property issue. On June 18, just days before the fourth strategic dialogue between the two countries, more than 170 members of U.S. Congress wrote to President Obama expressing concerns about lack of intellectual property protection in India.

They argued that the trade imbalance between the United States and India “is due in no small part to policies by the Government of India to favor domestic producers over U.S. exporters.”

The letter added, “The chilling effect on global R&D investment, both in the US and in India, as a result of India’s IP policies could have a significant negative impact on jobs and investment in the United States.”

The congressmen urged Obama to “make sure these issues are raised at the highest levels of the Indian government and that they are a top priority” at the strategic dialogue, which was held in New Delhi on Monday.

In her letter, Rao pointed out that between 20 percent and 30 percent of all patents granted in India have gone to “U.S. nationals and corporations” and “of all the patents granted for pharmaceutical inventions between 2005 and 2011, more than 85% were owned by foreign companies in India.”

She also pointed out that India has used compulsory licensing only once.

The ambassador also said India “stands prepared to resolve issues that arise in the trade and industry domain between our two countries in a spirit of mutual understanding and friendship, always safeguarding the interests of our long-term bilateral and strategic partnership.”

She offered to engage India Caucus members “further on these issues and to share our perspectives.”

In the meantime, two pharmaceutical industry trade groups, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), joined the Alliance for Fair Trade with India, a new coalition sprang up recently. One of the co-chairs of the group is the National Association of Manufacturers, which, along with PhRMA and BIO sent a letter to Obama earlier this month urging action.

“It is time the Government of India ended discrimination against our nation’s exporters and took steps to ensure it is not repeated in the future,” it said.

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