India’s Patent Regime
- The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said in a report released last month that India was one of the most challenging major economies as far as IP protection and enforcement is concerned.
- It has decided to retain India on its Priority Watch List along with six other countries Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Russia and Venezuela.
- India which became a member of the WTO in the year 1995 also became a signatory to the TRIPS agreement.
- The patents in India are governed by the Indian Patent Act of 1970, so India has an overarching legislation to deal with the patents in India.
- Post the 1990’s India has adopted its economic model based on the western principles which are liberal in nature.
- Hence India has gradually aligned itself with international regimes pertaining to intellectual property rights.
- Apart from being a party to the TRIPS agreement India has also been a signatory to various other conventions pertaining to patents.
- These conventions include – Berne Convention, which governs copyright, the Budapest Treaty, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
- After being a member to the TRIPS, India has made a few changes to its domestic laws pertaining to patents.
- One such example is that, originally the Pharmaceuticals were not granted patent under Indian Patent Act.
- But after India became a party to TRIPS Agreement, it has amended the act to give patent rights to the pharma sector.
- The patent rights were not given to the pharma sector with a reason that medicines were available at a low price.
What is the issue with US’s Trade Authorities?
- In its report released by the USTR. It has addressed wide range of issues including copyright, piracy, trademark counterfeiting, etc.
- It also stated that India “remained one of the world’s most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of IP.”
Bone of contention:
- It is the Article 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act, which is the main point of contention.
- This article prevents the mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance from being patented as an invention unless it enhances the efficacy.
- This prevents, what is known as “evergreening” of patents.
The Doha Declaration:
- The Doha Declaration on TRIPS agreement that was adopted on November, 2021 emphasises on public health.
- It recognises that intellectual property protection is essential for the development of new medicines but also expressed its concerns on its effect on the prices of the medicines.
- It says that TRIPS agreement should not prevent the states from protecting the public health.
- It declares that States can issue compulsory licenses allowing companies other than patent owners to produce the medicines.
Source The Hindu
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