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Foreign companies wary of India’s intellectual property regime

business Updated: Mar 29, 2015 22:39 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
India's IP regime

Global impatience with India’s intellectual property (IP) regime is growing, and could potentially drive away foreign firms or force them to scale down operations, a new study says.

Interlocutors in Europe and Japan, the study said, “reported frustration with India’s IP regime and hinted at the potential for longer-term disengagement from the Indian economy”.

From the European perspective, especially, “there is a degree of frustration that ought to be alarming for the Indian government”, said the report’s author, Roy Kamphausen. His study is for a DC think tank to which he is attached — the National Bureau of Asian Research.

“The kind of unspoken next step that they (companies) hint at is that at some point they will turn elsewhere,” he told HT on the sidelines of the launch of his report earlier this week.

Some companies, Kamp­hausen said in the report, have set artificially low expectations, while others have declined to send their most advanced products to India.

The report’s central argument is that the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative will depend on how quickly India can strengthen its IP regime.

India’s IP regime has been under withering scrutiny in the west in the past few years, with the US taking leadership, launching multiple investigations, two of them mandated by congress.

But the concerns expressed in the report on Japan’s behalf were not quite borne out by Japanese officials, one of whom was present at the launch of the report, and he should know.

Ichiro Abe is Japan’s trade representative in India, and closely tracks progress of all investments from his country’s companies — he knows who is coming, who’s staying and who is leaving.

India’s IP regime is a concern he said, but only his Number 4 concern, following three others — the taxation system, regulations and lack of infrastructure.

But, he allowed, Kamphausen may have drawn his conclusions from a wider audience.