US keeps India on intellectual property priority watch list | india | Hindustan Times
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US keeps India on intellectual property priority watch list

The US on Thursday retained India on its priority watch list for “lack of sufficient measurable improvements” to the IP framework despite robust engagement and positive steps on intellectual property protection and enforcement by the Indian government in the last two years.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2016 08:42 IST
PTI
India, along with China and ten others figure on the list with Switzerland being the latest entrant
India, along with China and ten others figure on the list with Switzerland being the latest entrant

The US on Thursday retained India on its priority watch list for “lack of sufficient measurable improvements” to the IP framework despite robust engagement and positive steps on intellectual property protection and enforcement by the Indian government in the last two years.

Releasing its annual 301 Report, the US said that it will continue to put India and China on its priority watch list for intellectual property rights (IPR).

Pakistan, however, has been upgraded from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said in its annual report.

“India remains on the Priority Watch List this year for lack of sufficient measurable improvements to its IPR framework despite more robust engagement and positive steps forward on IPR protection and enforcement undertaken by the Government of India,” the USTR said in its report.

USTR retains the option of conducting an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) of India should developments - positive or negative - weigh in favour of a review in advance of the annual cycle, the report said.

“Intellectual property is a critical source of economic growth and high-quality jobs for the United States, and it is more important than ever to prevent foreign governments and competitors from ripping off United States innovators who are trying to support high-paying jobs by exporting their goods and services to consumers around the world,” said US Trade Representative Michael Froman.

“This final Special 301 Report of the Obama Administration underlines the great value that unique American creativity and innovation have for millions of families - ranging from small business owners to medical researchers to employees of the recording and motion picture industries.

“As well as the efforts of the executive branch, our bipartisan partners in Congress, and the US business community to vigilantly monitor abuses of American intellectual property rights anywhere they exist in the world,” he said.

Continuing to place China on the Priority Watch List, USTR said China has undertaken wide-ranging intellectual property law reform efforts and some positive enforcement initiatives, but both longstanding and new IPR concerns merit increased attention including with respect to trade secret theft, rampant online piracy and counterfeiting, continued high levels of physical pirated and counterfeit goods, and localisation requirements that condition market access on use of IPR developed in or transferred to China.

In its report, USTR added Switzerland to the Watch List this year.

While Switzerland is generally a strong partner on IP issues, copyright holders have essentially been prevented from enforcing their rights against online infringers and Switzerland has become an increasingly popular host country for infringing websites, it said.

USTR also said that it will conduct OCRs for Colombia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Spain to promote engagement and progress on specific IP opportunities and challenges identified in this year’s review.

Pakistan it said has taken significant steps to improve IP protection and enforcement including establishing specialised IP courts, establishing a timeline to draft and implement amendments to IP laws, improving border enforcement procedures, undertaking public awareness programs on IP protection, and committing to regular action-oriented engagement with the US government and stakeholders.

Eleven countries - Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela - are on the Priority Watch List.

These countries will be the subject of particularly intense bilateral engagement during the coming year, it said.

Twenty-three countries are on the Watch List, and also merit bilateral attention to address underlying IP problems.