US has decided to retain India on its Priority Watch List along with six other countries —Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Russia and Venezuela.
Indian Patent Regime:
- Indian patents are governed by the Indian Patent Act of 1970.
- India became a party to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement following its membership to the World Trade Organisation on January 1, 1995.
- An interesting point is that the original Indian Patents Act did not grant patent protection to pharmaceutical products to ensure that medicines were available at a low price.
- Patent protection of pharmaceuticals were re-introduced after the 2005 amendment to comply with TRIPS.
- India is also a signatory to several IPR related conventions, including the Berne Convention, which governs copyright.
- It is signatory to the Budapest Treaty, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), all of which govern various patent-related matters.
- India’s inconsistencies regarding patent protection
- Concerns about what can be patented
- Waiting time for obtaining patents
- Burdensome reporting requirements and
- Doubts about data safety
- Trademark counterfeiting and secrets
- One of the main points of contention between India and the U.S. has been Article 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act
- Section 3 deals with what does not qualify as an invention under the Act, and Section 3(d) in particular excludes the mere discovery of a new form of a known substance.
- Section 3(d) 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 of the substance repetitive.
- This prevents, what is known as “Evergreening” of patents.
- According to the Committee’s report, Section 3(d) allows for “generic competition by patenting only novel and genuine inventions.”
TRIPS and the Doha Declaration
- The Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health was adopted on November 14, 2021, by the WTO member states.
- This declaration recognises the gravity of public health problems affecting developing and least developed nations.
- Compulsory licences can be invoked by a state in public interest, allowing companies apart from the patent owner to produce a patented product without consent.
- It indicated that India should resolve its differences with the US regarding the disqualification of incremental inventions through bilateral dialogue.
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