Consequences if India fails to act on IPR, warns US lawmaker

A top US lawmaker warned India of "consequences" on its continued violation of intellectual property rights (IPRs) hoping the new government will address America`s concerns regarding its policies that undermine IPRs.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 27, 2014, 06:10 AM IST

Washington: A top US lawmaker warned India of "consequences" on its continued violation of intellectual property rights (IPRs) hoping the new government will address America`s concerns regarding its policies that undermine IPRs.

In his June 25 letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman, Senator Orrin Hatch said: "I am hopeful that your efforts to engage India`s new government will bear fruit and that the new government will address the concerns regarding India`s policies that undermine intellectual property rights protection.

However, I believe there must be consequences if the new government fails to act."

Hatch, Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, asked the US to engage the new Indian government on intellectual property issues and report back on the findings of the Out of Cycle Review (OCR) the trade office is currently conducting.

"I request that immediately following the conclusion of the OCR, you inform me in writing what actions you and the government of India have taken to ensure these serious problems are addressed.
At a minimum, I would expect such actions to include the development of a written, meaningful and effective action plan with definite timetables for implementation," Hatch said.

Enumerating India`s violation of the IPRs, the Republican senator said: "India continues to ignore its international obligations and misuse its patent law to build up its domestic industry at the expense of US innovators."

"India also fails to take adequate steps to address widespread piracy and counterfeiting, and imposes significant discriminatory market access barriers blocking sales of US-made innovative products, and coercing US companies to transfer their technology and intellectual property to local industry," he said.

In the 2014 Special 301 Report released in April, Hatch said the USTR stated, "In the coming months, the United States will redouble its efforts to seek opportunities for meaningful, sustained, and effective engagement on IP-related matters with the new government, including at senior levels and through technical exchanges.

The US trade and investment relationship with India is critical and other countries are watching. I am hopeful that India`s new government will recognize that protection of intellectual property rights is an important element of a strong trade and investment policy, the Senator said.

"But if not, we cannot afford to ignore India`s current practices, which harm US innovative and creative industries and threaten the stability of the international trading system," Hatch warned.