India near bottom of intellectual property index

India was ranked 37 out of 38 countries, with only Venezuela scoring lower, in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-International Intellectual Property Index.

The report, released on Wednesday, comes at a time when the government is close to finalising a National Intellectual Property policy to improve the IP regime, increase IP awareness and strengthen enforcement of rules.

The U.S. was ranked first, followed by the UK, Germany, France and Sweden. India’s peers in the BRICS grouping were all ranked ahead with Russia ranked 20th, China (22nd), South Africa (26th) and Brazil (29th). The 38 economies benchmarked in the 2016 Index accounts for nearly 85 per cent of the global GDP.

The Index — produced by the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) — is based on 30 criteria critical to innovation including patent, copyright and trademark protections, enforcement, and engagement in international treaties, the Chamber said. India remains at the bottom of the Index for the fourth year in a row, the GIPC report said.

It said patent protection in India remains outside of international best practices, adding that Indian law does not provide adequate enforcement mechanisms to effectively combat online piracy. India’s score would have increased if the government had not suspended implementation of Final Guidelines for Computer Related Inventions (CRI), according to the report. The GIPC report found that among India’s key areas of weakness was the use of compulsory licensing (CL) for commercial and non-emergency situations, and the expanded use of CL being considered by the Indian government. CL relates to the government allowing entities to manufacture, use, sell or import a patented invention without the permission of the patent-owner. Another area of weakness was “poor application and enforcement of civil remedies and criminal penalties.”

“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,” said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of GIPC.

“The Index was created so that countries such as India can hear directly from the business community on the IP-related issues important to them when considering investing in new markets,” said Mark Elliot, executive vice president of GIPC.

The report said Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Russia introduced or maintained policies that tie market access to sharing of IP and technology. Such forced-localization policies tend to undermine the overall innovation ecosystem and deter investment from foreign IP-intensive entities, it said.

Keywords: intellectual property index, U.S. Chamber of Commerce-International Intellectual Property Index, David Hirschmann, intellectual property rights

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