[Ip-health] The Hindu: US turns screws on India over patent laws

Andrew S. Goldman andrew.goldman at keionline.org
Tue Jun 27 11:08:40 PDT 2017

The article below refers to a letter sent by Sens. Hatch and Wyden with
Reps. Brady and Neal to President Trump. The letter itself is here:


US turns screws on India over patent laws



India’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and patent law enforcement as
well New Delhi’s decision to cap prices of medical devices remained a
contentious issue with the US even during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
visit to Washington DC.

“IPR has been flagged as the biggest concern that the US has with India
during the trade policy review and during the visit,” said an official
requesting anonymity. “The biggest stumbling block is its enforcement. It
is a major roadblock when it comes to attracting high-technology transfers
from the US, which in turn impacts investments.”

Issues related to IPR and patents were raised by the US trade authorities
during a recent review of the Indian trade policy. Consequently, it was
escalated at the level of senior officials of the Trump administration
during Modi’s visit to Washington, diplomatic sources told BusinessLine.

Although this is not the first time the US has criticised India on its IPR
and patents enforcement mechanism, the Trump government has made it one of
its topmost priorities and conflated it with the issue of big-ticket
investments in India, sources said.

The main difference between the two sides stems from the fact that while
the US sees IPR purely from the commercial point of view, India sees it as
a development measure. Apparently, during the delegation-level talks, India
informed the US that it has taken all necessary measures to strictly
enforce laws relating to IPR.

“From the halls of Congress to the Trump administration, US leaders have
placed emphasis on ensuring American innovation is respected abroad. In
India, that includes strengthening Intellectual Property standards to
address issues with patentability, computer-related inventions, and
copyright infringement,” said Patrick Kilbride, Vice-President of
International Intellectual Property for the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global
Intellectual Property Centre.

Price caps rankle

It appears that the US has also complained about the recent steps taken by
the government to impose a price cap on medicines and medical devices. It
has also complained to the Indian authorities of the rampant patent
violations and capacity deficiencies in effectively implementing laws,
sources said.

In fact, just a day before Modi landed in the US, a letter was sent to
President Donald Trump by US Congressional trade leaders signed by the
chairs and ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee Orrin Hatch and
Ron Wyden, and House Ways & Means Committee’s Kevin Brady and Richard Neal.

“While increased high-level dialogues between Prime Minister Modi and
President Trump and other government agencies are welcome, they must result
in concrete reforms that resolve roadblocks fully in order to achieve real
market access gains,” said Linda Dempsey, Vice-President for International
Economic Affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers.

Andrew S. Goldman
Counsel, Policy and Legal Affairs
Knowledge Ecology International
andrew.goldman at keionline.org // www.twitter.com/ASG_KEI
tel.: +1.202.332.2670

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