India is placed at a poor second last position in the US Chamber of Commerce’s latest IP index for not following international best practices in patent protectionas the body said it is yet to see the government’s “rhetoric” translate into “concrete action”.
“Patent protection in India remains outside of international best practices, and Indian law does not provide adequate enforcement mechanisms to effectively combat online piracy,” the USCC said.
In the 4th annual International IP Index ‘Infinite Possibilities’, Venezuela finished last out of the 38 economies studied, while the United States ranked first in the annual index, a media release said.
“While we have been encouraged by the Modi Administration’s rhetoric to improve India’s IP environment, we have yet to see it translate into concrete action,” said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of USCC’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIpercent).
“Nations like Thailand, who surpassed India in the rankings this year, provide an example of the way that incremental changes to a country’s IP framework can strengthen the overall IP ecosystem,” he said.
All countries should look at the Index and incorporate the infinite possibilities that exist to improve their IP environment to encourage the next greatest innovation take place on their soil, he added.
In a fact sheet, the USCC said at the time of research for its report, a new National IP Rights Strategy document had yet to be released.
In terms of the Index, India’s overall score has decreased to 7.05 from the third edition total of 7.23. This decrease was driven primarily by the introduction of the Global Measure of Physical Counterfeiting where India ranked seven out of 38 economies mapped.
At the same time, the report noted 2015 saw a number of positive steps taken that would have potentially increased India’s score.
The USCC noted that more broadly, a number of concerns remain with India’s national IP environment: the country’s patentability requirements remain outside established international best practices with 2015 rulings confirming long-standing interpretations; there is a lack of specific IP rights for the life sciences sector; and the enforcement environment remains challenging with continued high levels of physical and online piracy.
Specifically, the publication of new guidelines for patentability of CIIs (computer-implemented inventions) would have provided a greater level of clarity on what until now was a grey area of patentability. Unfortunately, in late 2015 these guidelines were suspended until further review by the Indian authorities, it said.
Finally, India is not a contracting party to any of the international treaties included in the IP Index, nor has India concluded an FTA with substantial IP provisions since acceding to the TRIPS Agreement.