India remains near the bottom in an international Intellectual Property (IP) index by being ranked 43rd out of 45 countries, according to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC).
The report said it includes 90% of global gross domestic product, and grades countries on patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, enforcement, and international treaties. Only two countries were ranked below India – Pakistan (44th) and Venezuela (45th). The U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea and Italy completed the top 10 ranks. Among the BRICS countries China was ranked 27th, South Africa (33rd), Brazil (32nd) and Russia (23rd).
The report added, “While the Indian government issued the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy in 2016, IP-intensive industries continued to face challenges in the Indian market with regard to the scope of patentability for computer-implemented inventions, Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act (that prevents ever-greening of patents), and the recent High Court of Delhi decision regarding photocopying copyrighted content.”
The report said, India’s key areas of weakness includes that “overall, National IPR Policy does not address fundamental weaknesses in India’s IP framework, limited framework for protection of life sciences IP, patentability requirements being outside international standards, lengthy pre-grant opposition proceedings in place, and the 2016 High Court ruling on copyright infringement in the University of Delhi copy-shop case continuing to weaken the enforcement environment for rights holders.”
It added that another of India’s weaknesses was also that it had “previously used compulsory licensing for commercial and nonemergency situations, (as well as India’s) limited participation in international IP treaties.”
The report said its key findings included that a number of countries introduced new enforcement mechanisms and specialized IP courts to better combat counterfeiting and piracy. Besides, free trade agreements signed in 2016 helped raise the bar for protection of life sciences IP, copyrighted content online, and enforcement against IP theft, it said.
“Various governments undertook a review of their IP laws, recognizing that IP laws must keep pace with the emerging challenges IP owners face. Economies leveraged international partnerships through Patent Prosecution Highways,” it said, adding that despite these positive developments, some countries took steps to restrict IP rights in 2016. Also, countries introduced new requirements for local production, procurement, and manufacturing.
The report further said, “A number of governments attempted to limit the scope of patentability via both judicial decisions and legislation. Both individual governments and representatives of the multilateral institutions encouraged public officials to utilize compulsory licenses and expand exceptions and limitations in the name of increasing access.”