By Arun Kumar

WASHINGTON– Suggesting that patent protection in India remains outside of international best practice, the US Chamber of Commerce has ranked the country second-last in an International Index of Intellectual Property (IP) environment in 38 economies.

Indian law does not provide adequate enforcement mechanisms to effectively combat online piracy, said the 4th annual International IP Index “Infinite Possibilities”, produced by the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Centre (GIPC).

David Hirschmann
David Hirschmann

Venezuela finished last out of the 38 economies studied, while the US ranked first.

While India’s score was largely unchanged, overall, half of the 38 economies, which account for nearly 85 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), improved their total score from last year’s Index, the chamber said.

This indicated increased recognition of the benefits of intellectual property (IP) and a strong IP system, it said.

The index is based on 30 measurable criteria critical to innovation including, patent, copyright and trademark protections, enforcement, and engagement in international treaties, among others.

“This year’s Index illustrates that many countries embraced the upward momentum in the global intellectual property environment, and continued to take steps to improve their IP systems,” said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of GIPC.

“While we have been encouraged by the Modi Administration’s rhetoric to improve India’s IP environment, we have yet to see it translate into concrete action,” he said.

Listing India’s key areas of strength, the Index noted that the government of India continued to make positive statements during 2015 on the need to introduce a strong IP environment.

However, it suggested that India’s patentability requirements were outside international standards and regulatory data protection and patent term restoration were not available.

The Indian patent law, it said, adds an additional patentability requirement beyond the required novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability requirements.

Indian compulsory licensing legislation and the continued consideration of such licenses for biopharmaceuticals outside of public emergencies is one of the primary reasons India’s IP regime continues to be an international outlier, the US chamber said.

Indian law is also not clear as to the availability and requirements of a notice and takedown system, it said.

India is not a contracting party to any of the international treaties included in the Index, nor has India concluded an FTA with substantial IP provisions since acceding to the TRIPS Agreement, the chamber said.