Excerpt from the 2002 USTR 301 Report

Priority Watch List...


India’s patent system and protection of exclusive test data appear 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. In addition, India’s copyright law, which is generally consistent with international standards, was weakened by amendments enacted in 2000 that undermine protection for computer programs. Enforcement against piracy remains a growing concern for U.S. copyright industries, especially given that pirated imports are entering the market from Southeast Asia and that there is growing Internet piracy. 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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