Today has been an unusually busy day for anyone who keenly follows IP law and policy due to two very important events that took place in Washington, D.C. One was the release of the international IP Index by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce and the second was the CATO Institute’s panel discussion on Intellectual Property and First Principles.
Couple of hours back, just when I was winding up my first blog post for ISGLP titled “ India’s Tryst with the Special 301 Process : The Story Until Now and Future“, my phone beeped signaling the release of the 4th Annual International IP index by the Global Intellectual Property Center (I’ll share the blog post once it’s published).
To my utter dismay, India was ranked 37th out of 38th economies vis – a-vis international best practices on IP law. The reasons attributed to India’s laggard performance was the same old rhetoric of, (a) Non – conformance with international patentability requirements (b) Unavailability of regulatory data protection and patent term restoration (c) Usage of compulsory licenses for commercial and non – emergency situations (d) Poor application and enforcement of civil remedies and criminal penalties and (e) Not a contracting party to any of the international IP treaties referenced in the Index. The 2015 Indian Supreme Court’s ruling on notice and takedown requirements for copyright infringement content was also cited as one the areas of weakness. ( Being based out of Washington D.C., I’m unsure as to which decision is being referred to. However, I’ll get back on this soon).
The overall score stood at an appalling 7.05 on a scale of 30 (reflecting measurable criteria critical to innovation including patent, copyright and trademark protections, enforcement and engagement in international treaties) . While I was not expecting a stellar ranking, the least I expected was India being lauded for it’s sincere efforts to revisit it’s IP regime ( beyond the formalistic statement, “The government of India continued to make positive statements during 2015 on the need to introduce a strong IP environment.”). A cursory remark on the IPR Think Tank and the draft IPR Policy would have been propitious.