India remains one of the most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of intellectual property, the office of the US Trade Representative said in a report as it decided to retain New Delhi on the Priority Watch List.
In its 2022 Special 301 Report, the USTR designated seven countries in the Priority Watch List. These are Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Venezuela. The review of Ukraine has been suspended due to Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked invasion of the country, the USTR said.
The USTR in the India section of the report said over the past year, India has remained inconsistent in its progress on IP protection and enforcement.
While India made meaningful progress to promote IP protection and enforcement in some areas over the past year, it failed to resolve recent and long-standing challenges and it created new concerns for right holders, the report said.
''India remains one of the world’s most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of IP,'' it said. The report further said India’s accession to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Performances and Phonograms Treaty and WIPO Copyright Treaty, collectively known as the WIPO Internet Treaties, in 2018 and the Nice Agreement in 2019 were positive steps.
However, the USTR said the potential threat of patent revocations, lack of presumption of patent validity and narrow patentability criteria under the Indian Patents Act impact companies across different sectors.
The USTR said despite India’s justifications of limiting IP protections as a way to promote access to technologies, India maintains high customs duties on IP-intensive products such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, information and communications technology products, solar energy equipment and capital goods. In the pharmaceutical sector, the United States continues to monitor the restriction on patent-eligible subject matter in Section 3(d) of the Indian Patents Act and its impacts, it said.
Pharmaceutical stakeholders also express concerns as to whether India has an effective mechanism for the early resolution of potential patent disputes, particularly shortcomings in notifying interested parties of marketing approvals, it said.