KM Gopakumar’s Article : Some Thoughts

The recently unleashed National IPR Policy has garnered much traction from all quarters in the form of op-eds, articles and blog posts.

A piece which has caught my attention is KM Gopakumar’s (Third World Network) article in day before yesterday’s Deccan Herald.

I want to highlight a diminutive error which has made its way to an otherwise informative read. In the context of India’s patent regime, the author opines that the lone complainant against it were the pharmaceutical MNCs. Quoting the relevant excerpt –

Government of India should understand that the demands from pharmaceutical MNCs if implemented would compromise the health security of India as well as millions of people living in other developing countries who are dependent on affordable generic medicines from India. Further, it is only the pharmaceutical MNCs that are complaining against the Indian Patent Act. Other industries like aircraft manufactures such as Boeing went on record to express their satisfaction on Indian Patents Act.

However, this is far from true. In the written submissions made to the USTR for the 2016 Special 301 Report, apart from the representatives of the pharmaceutical MNCs, several other trade groups representing diverse industries had also expressed their dismay over the Indian Patent Act. These are the U.S Chambers of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), the Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Alliance for Free Trade With India (AFTI) and the U.S. – India Business Council (USIBC) ( See here for more on this).

The GIPC as an affiliate of the U.S. Chambers of Commerce  represents the business interests of more than three million corporations spanning all sectors. BIO’s membership base is not strictly confined to pharmaceutical corporations but encompasses four different sections within its ambit (healthcare, food and agriculture, industry and emerging companies). The BSA represents the world’s largest software developers.

The AFTI with its mandate to cement the U.S. – India commercial relationship comprises of various trade groups ranging from pharmaceuticals (PhRMA) to motion pictures (MPAA). And same holds true for the USIBC which represents 350 U.S. corporations having a blue print in India.

Hence, rendering KM Gopakumar’s assertion on the primary complainant against the India Patent Act somewhat preposterous.

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