[Ip-health] IP-Watch: USTR Froman Presses India On IPR Regime

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Nov 25 22:27:43 PST 2014


USTR Froman Presses India On IPR Regime

24/11/2014 BY WILLIAM NEW <http://www.ip-watch.org/author/william/>,

“Nearly one-third of all Silicon Valley start-ups have an Indian-American
co-founder,” United States Trade Representative Michael Froman said in
remarks on India today. The country of India is also innovating, but it
must do more to have and enforce a world-class intellectual property rights
regime, he said.

Froman spoke at the opening of the US-India Trade Policy Forum, which he is
co-chairing with his counterpart Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The forum is
meeting for the first time in four years as part of a wave of diplomatic
and trade engagements by the US and India.

Froman said President Obama will return to India for a visit in two months,
the first time a sitting US president has ever visited India twice. And
Indian Prime Minister Modi just visited the US two months ago.

Froman spoke about progress being made in the World Trade Organization
negotiations on trade facilitation, and other issues. And he extensively
highlighted intellectual property issues, telling India to do more and
saying the US is watching closely:

“Another area that’s central to our shared future is innovation.  Back in
2010, my former colleague, Larry Summers, came to India and observed that
one of the most important global developments was the emergence of the
knowledge economy.  He noted that, as the India-U.S. trade and investment
relationship evolved, the exchange of ideas would be at least as important
as the exchange of goods.  And this trend is well underway.

“India has made great advances in medicine, has patented technologies, and
boasts a tremendously successful entertainment industry.   Indians are
focused on securing education and training for their children, laying the
groundwork for the next generation of innovation.  Indeed, innovation and
entrepreneurship course through the veins of Indians and Indian-Americans:
Nearly one-third of all Silicon Valley start-ups have an Indian-American

“It is, therefore, in India’s interests to have and to enforce a
world-class intellectual property rights regime.  Patents, copyright, trade
secrets.  Piracy, counterfeiting, compulsory licensing.  These are
challenging issues, but dealing with them directly is critical if India is
to play a leadership role in the knowledge economy, including on its way to
becoming ‘Digital India.’  And in that regard, we have great interest in
the ongoing review of India’s Intellectual Property Rights Policy.

“In September, Prime Minister Modi and President Obama agreed to establish
a High Level Working Group on intellectual property rights, providing us
with a platform to address issues of interest to both countries.  Copyright
enforcement is a top priority of the entertainment industries in Hollywood
and in Bollywood.  Incentivizing life-saving innovations and promoting
affordable access to quality healthcare and safe medicine will benefit all
Indians and Americans.  Indeed, India is home to some of the most
innovative ideas for delivering cost-effective healthcare.  And through the
Trade Policy Forum, we look forward to building on our common interests and
strengthening the innovation ecosystem as part of our overall trade and
investment relationship.

“There is much that we can do together to help address India’s most
pressing demands:  improving agricultural productivity, expanding
manufacturing, strengthening the services sector, promoting innovation and
creativity, improving health and education, enhancing security and
addressing India’s growing energy needs.

“Ultimately, the most important factor determining the future evolution of
our bilateral economic relationship is the quality of the business
environment based on transparency, consistency, predictability. Creating
regulatory and legal certainty. Maintaining policy stability and forging an
innovation environment. Achieving tax simplification and predictability.
Raising investment caps and lowering tariffs. Consulting with stakeholders
through notice and comment. Streamlining layers of approval and eliminating
bureaucratic obstacles — what Prime Minister Modi has called ‘red

IPO Lobbying Trip

Meanwhile, the US industry Intellectual Property Owners Association
reported that last week, a delegation of 14 IPO corporate and law firm
members attended a series of meetings in India, including with the IP
Office in Chennai. There, they discussed patent pendency, work sharing
initiatives, and implementation of the Indian Biodiversity Act, among other
issues. The group also met with the Chennai Central Board of Excise and
Customs, where they received “an overview of IPR enforcement efforts by
Indian customs, highlighting the difficulties in determining patent,
geographical indication, and design rights infringement due to the
necessity for judicial pronouncements.”

In addition, the group discussed innovation and patent protection with
representatives from Mahindra Research Valley, which is a facility of more
than 2,300 engineers working on automotive and farm machinery research and
development, it said.

But according to a report
the IPO group had to abandon plans to meet with Indian judges.

*[Update:]* US business groups sent a letter
Ambassador Froman today. “While encouraged by the recent breakthrough in
the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and Prime Minister Modi’s announcement
of a high-level IP Working Group, the letter notes that US industries have
yet to see any real action taken on a wide array of longstanding trade
said a representative.

Image Credits: Embassy of India

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