Patrick Kilbride, Vice-President, International Intellectual Property at GIPC, also asked India to take a leaf from China's recent efforts to strengthen IP protections
Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), a part of US Chamber of Commerce, the trade lobby group of US which advocates for implementation of strong intellectual property (IP) standards globally, recently said it sees a protectionist mindset among Indian political leadership and inadequate enforcement of which hampers the growth of Indo-US trade.
Patrick Kilbride, Vice-President, International Intellectual Property at GIPC, who oversees the center’s multilateral and international programmes promoting the protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights in an exclusive interview to Moneycontrol said countries with effective IP protection both produce more innovative output and enjoy faster access to innovation from elsewhere. He also asked India to take a leaf from China's recent efforts to strengthen IP protections, including patent linkage mechanisms and regulatory data protection. Edited excerpts:
What are the barriers you think that are hampering trade and investment between US and India?
The main obstacle hindering American companies in India is a political mindset that appears to see global trade and investment as a threat to local manufacturers rather than as a source of growth. This protective mindset translates into restrictive import policies, redundant regulatory measures, forced localization, and discriminatory treatment of imports or foreign-owned productive capacity.
By the way, this same mindset seems to be taking root at home in the United States; we are fighting back by illustrating how foreign trade and investment boost economic growth through competition, enhance consumer value through choice and quality, and make America more competitive by safeguarding industrial inputs and optimizing supply chains.
India is on the priority watch list of US Trade Representative (USTR) for sometime - what it can do to come out of that list?
As long as USTR believes that India’s IP laws and enforcement mechanisms are inadequate to protect US intellectual property, India is likely to remain on the watch list. This includes statutes that restrict patent eligibility, such as Section 3(d); measures that delay patent protection, including pre-grant opposition; and, economic conditions such as rampant copyright piracy, where civil and criminal penalties may be insufficient to provide a deterrent effect.
Indian policy makers constantly grapple with the challenge of creating jobs, improving living standards like providing access to life-saving medicines/devices for over 1.2 billion people - but some of the concerns raised by USTR such as asking for restrictions on technology transfer and stronger IP standards at times lead to a conflicting situation. How can India and US resolve this?
The evidence is clear – and the US Chamber IP Index contributes to the factual record in this regard. Countries with effective IP protection both produce more innovative output and enjoy faster access to innovation from elsewhere. Investment in innovative and creative activity – at least on a socially-transformative scale – is dependent on strong, reliable property rights that enable financing and commercialization of new products, services, and technologies.
When India protects IP creation at an adequate level, local investment and domestic start-ups will flourish and before long India will be advocating for more countries to take the same steps to protect Indian IP.
How can India address the problem of access versus compliance?
In the United States, the world’s most innovative bio-pharmaceutical industry operates in a market where 90 percent of all medicines purchased are generics – a great many of them from India. IP and generic access can go hand-in-hand.
What are the other areas of concern and things to watch for?Watch China. The Chinese government is investing in strengthened IP protections, including patent linkage mechanisms and regulatory data protection, in order to stimulate domestic pharmaceutical innovation. India has been way ahead of China in pharmaceutical manufacturing, but could lose out quickly if China makes a surge in innovation. India’s recent draft Pharmaceutical Policy seems to recognize this risk and urges steps (also known as IPRs) to secure incentives for innovative R&D.