The change and progress on critical business issues in India, including the protection of intellectual property rights, was the focus of a discussion held on Thursday June 30, 2016, by the Hudson Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC).
The session featured two panels centered on India’s new National Intellectual Rights Policy which was released in May of this year. The mission of the new policy is to “Stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced intellectual property rights system in India to foster creativity and innovation and thereby, promote entrepreneurship and enhance socio-economic and cultural development; and focus on enhancing access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection, among other sectors of vital social, economic and technological importance.”
At the Hudson Institute/GIPC event, the first panel consisted of Leticia Lewis of BSA The Software Alliance, Neena Shenai of Metronic, Jeremiah Norris of the Hudson Institute, and Arun Venkatarama of the International Trade Administration. Each discussed India’s IPR in relation to the digital economy, medical industry, pharmaceuticals, and investment and trade, respectively. Lewis highlighted that data innovation creates thousands of jobs whereby one IT-related job in India also creates three non-IT jobs as well. Norris stated that of the more than 275 HIV drugs being manufactured, 50% are made in India. However, Shenai specified that India’s trade numbers with the U.S. do not compare with other countries. India is the U.S.’ 11th largest trade partner with $6 billion worth of trade in 2015. While this may seem significant, this $6 billion does not adequately compare to the hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of trade between the U.S. and China and Canada. The reason for this, according to Shenai, is that India’s business climate does not fare very well because of the domestic challenges associated with a confusing IPR policy.
The second panel, titled “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” featured Aimee Aloi the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Kalpana Reddy of the GIPC, and Joe Welch of 21st Century Fox. Each covered the pros and cons of India’s IPR strategy with regards to their respective fields. Specifically, Aloi highlighted barriers in the pharmaceutical field such as the difficulty of obtaining patents in India, which creates a lack of incentive for innovation. Welch furthered the notion of Indian barriers to IP protection in that India mandates that media and entertainment companies provide their content to Indian cable companies, which creates a conflict with the overarching idea behind IP rights – the exclusive right to monetize content. Moreover, there was a consensus between the three panelists regarding the direction implementation will take. India’s IPR strategy is broad and there is room for varying interpretations. All three panelists noted that how the IPR strategy is interpreted is an extremely important moving forward.
Visit the Hudson Institute website to watch a streaming video of the event.