United States (US) is persistently criticising India for its allegedly poor intellectual property rights (IPRs) protection and enforcement. Despite the contrary stand of US, India has been managing its IPRs regime very effectively and as per international norms. Nevertheless US has been consistent in putting India under the “Priority Watch List (PWL)” category in its Special 301 Reports from time to time. It was also declared that a proposed legislation would target companies using stolen IPRs of US.
However, India has its own shares of problems when it comes to IPRs protection and management by US and US companies. There is no doubt that US needs to change its policy towards foreign IPRs violations as well. Many online service providers (OSPs) and companies in US are not complying with laws of other jurisdictions like India and are not complying with DMCA requirements. They cannot hide behind conflict of laws in cyberspace for long and US needs to address this issue as well while agitating against India.
Recently the WTO dispute between US and India regarding certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from India was decided by WTO. It was a mixed decision where both US and India gained in some aspects and lost in others. Meanwhile, India decided to formulate the IPR Policy of India to address national and international concerns. It would be a good idea to include technology issues of IPRs in the proposed IPRs policy of India as well.
In the USTR 2014 Special 301 Report to Congress (PDF) US maintained that India deserves to be kept under the PWL category. However, ahead of President Obama’s visit, US has softened its stand in this regard. After a special review, US is now satisfied with the efforts of India in the direction of IPRs protection and enforcement.
The US Trade Representative (USTR) believes that India has made useful commitments in recent months, including institutionalizing high-level engagement on IP issues, to pursue a specific work program and to deepen cooperation and information exchange with the US on IP related issues under the US India Trade Policy Forum. The USTR has also announced closure of the out-of-cycle review of India’s trade and intellectual property rights practices, noting the progress made in recent months.
We at Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) welcome this move of US. This is a good step in the right direction and it would help in strengthening of India US ties further. Let us see what the proposed national IPRs policy of India would suggest in this regard.