U.S. Trade Representative again places India on ‘watch list’

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has once again placed India on ‘Priority Watch List’ in its annual Special 301 Report on the state of intellectual property protection.

The report has slammed the Indian health ministry for “creating uncertainty in the pharmaceutical market” by demanding that pharmaceutical companies provide details of how they were using the granted patents.

The latest report states: “India remains on the Priority Watch List this year for long-standing challenges in its IP framework and lack of sufficient measurable improvements, particularly with respect to patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and enforcement, as well as for new issues that have negatively affected U.S. right holders over the past year.”

The report comes at a time when the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has demanded the elimination of ‘Form 27’ — a statutory requirement unique to India’s patent law that mandates patent holders to declare how a monopoly is being exercised in the country.

The report called India’s implementation of the patent act as restrictive. “Companies across different sectors remain concerned about narrow patentability standards, the potential threat of compulsory licensing and patent revocations, as well as overly broad criteria for issuing such licenses and revocations under the India Patents Act,” it says.

Reacting the report, humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it unfairly targeted India at the urging of pharmaceutical corporations as the country is the “pharmacy of the developing world” and supplies affordable quality generic medicines globally.

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