Friday 28 April 2017

US places India yet again on IPR ‘priority watch’ list

US places India yet again on IPR ‘priority watch(प्राथमिकता नज़र रखना)’ list

NEW DELHI, APRIL 28:  Expressing its disappointment with India for not making adequate (पर्याप्त) changes in its IP laws and regulations despite(बावजूद) announcing its National IPR policy last year, the
US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office has once again placed the country in the ‘priority watch’ list in this year’s edition of the Special 301 report. “Almost a year after the announcement of its long-anticipated National IPR Policy, India continues to dismiss the need for substantive (मौलिक) changes to its IP laws and regulations. This is disappointing at best and distracts from some of the more positive steps found in the IPR policy,” says the report, released on Friday.  

New Delhi, however, maintains that its IPR laws are in total compliance(अनुपालन) with the global IP agreement TRIPS and no country had the right to say otherwise.

Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, at a world IP day event on Thursday, emphasised (जोर दिया) that the country’s IPR legislation was totally TRIPS compliant and it did not have to “give explanations’’ to any other country.

Being placed in the ‘priority watch’ list means that India continues to figure among countries that the USTR feels have “serious intellectual property rights deficiencies” and do not give adequate protection to American companies.

While the US does not threaten action against countries on the ‘priority watch list’, US laws say that retaliatory measures may be taken if a country slips further and is listed as a priority country — which is the worst categorisation.

“We neither recognise nor feel threatened by such internal reports brought out by a particular country. There is no way a country can get away by taking unilateral action against us as we will complain to the World Trade Organization, which prohibits such measures,” a government official told BusinessLine.

The US 301 report further said that the US will continue to encourage the Indian government to address the biggest gaps in its IP protections, including “uncertainties and challenges in the patent system (with particular regard for computer-related inventions (CRI) and Section 3(d) of the Patent Act), the need to modernise copyright laws, and the need for regulatory data protections.”

India has already told the US that it will not drop Section 3 (d) of its patent Act, which denies patents on items that are not significantly different from their older versions.

 ABOUT IPR ‘priority watch’ list

The Special 301 Report is prepared annually by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) under Section 301 as amended of the Trade Act of 1974.
The reports identify trade barriers to U.S. companies and products due to the intellectual property laws, such as copyright, patents and trademarks, in other countries. Each year the USTR must identify countries which do not provide "adequate and effective" protection of intellectual property rights or "fair and equitable market access to United States persons that rely upon intellectual property rights". Under the Special 301 provisions (Pub.L. 93–618, 19 U.S.C. § 2242) amended into Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 by section 1303 of the Omnibus(सार्वत्रिक) Trade and Competitiveness(प्रतियोगीता) Act of 1988, the USTR must also undertake annual surveys of foreign countries' intellectual property laws and policies. The Special 301 Report was first published in 1989.

About The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is an agency of more than 200 committed professionals with decades of specialized experience in trade issues and regions of the world.

We negotiate directly with foreign governments to create trade agreements, to resolve disputes, and to participate in global trade policy organizations. We also meet with governments, with business groups, with legislators and with public interest groups to gather input on trade issues and to discuss the President's trade policy positions.

USTR was created in 1962 and has offices in Washington, Geneva, and Brussels.

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