The Office of United States (US) Trade Representative (USTR) has once again placed India on ‘Priority Watch List’ in its annual Special 301 Report on the state of intellectual property protection. In 2018 Special 301 Report, the USTR has placed 12 countries on its Priority Watch List. Special 301 Report identifies US trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce IP rights or deny market access to its innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights.
Other countries on list are Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Ukraine, and Venezuela. IP issues in these countries will be subject of intense bilateral engagement during coming year.
According to it, India remains the list for its long-standing challenges in its IP framework and lack of sufficient measurable improvements, particularly with respect to patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and enforcement, as well as for new issues that have negatively affected US right holders over the past year.
India remains one of world’s most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of intellectual property. India’s enforcement action and policies are insufficient to curb problem, copyright policies that do not properly incentivise creation and commercialisation of content and outdated and insufficient trade secrets legal framework.
It has slammed Health Ministry of India for creating uncertainty in pharmaceutical market by demanding that pharmaceutical companies provide details of how they were using the granted patents. It has urged India to join important international treaties and agreements that could improve aspects of India’s IP regime.