India had announced a new intellectual property policy meant to speed up online registration of trademarks and patents. As part of the change, India’s Dept. of Industrial Promotion & Policy will regulate the country’s intellectual property rights, according to Reuters.
Government officials didn’t amend India’s patent laws, however, ignoring pressure from the U.S. and other Western nations, the news service reported. This means India will still keep its ability to issue compulsory licenses to drug companies under “emergency” conditions. India also won’t initially change any patent laws that weren’t already fully compliant as per World Trade Organization rules.
Why is patent and intellectual property administration at issue in India? As Reuters noted, the country’s enforcement of both hasn’t kept pace with technology. India also continues to rely on price controls and marketing restrictions, and pharmaceutical companies have complained about this.
India still has a long way to go in the eyes of the U.S. The country is still on the “Priority Watch List” maintained by the U.S. Trade Representative because it hasn’t gone far enough in terms of intellectual property rights protection. China and Russia also continue to be on the list.
Last June, India disclosed plans to set up a regulator to oversee its $4 billion medical device industry, a first.