Excerpt from the 2001 USTR 301 Report

Priority Watch List...


India’s patent system and protection of exclusive test data are far from compliant with its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement. The term of protection for pharmaceutical process patents is only seven years. India fails to provide patent protection for pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical products and the compulsory licensing system seems overly broad. Also, pending legislation meant to rectify India’s TRIPS deficiencies may fall short of that goal. To make matters worse, the inadequate patent protection currently available is difficult for innovators to obtain: India’s patent office suffers from a backlog of 30,000 patent applications and a severe shortage of patent examiners. Moreover, India’s overly-generous opposition procedures often allow competitors to delay patent issuance until the patent has expired, resulting in a de facto removal of patent protection. India’s copyright legislation is generally strong, but poor enforcement allows rampant piracy. Indeed, piracy of motion pictures, music, software, books and video games is widespread; videos and VCDs are often available on the street before titles even open in cinemas. We will continue to consult with the Indian Government to resolve outstanding TRIPS compliance concerns, but if these consultations do not prove constructive, we will consider all other options available, including WTO dispute settlement, to resolve these concerns.

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