USA and IPR Priority Watch List

IAS Prelims 2023

The US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office has once again placed the country in the ‘priority watch’ list in this year’s edition of the Special 301 report.

Being placed in the ‘priority watch’ list means that India continues to figure among countries that the USTR feels have “serious intellectual property rights deficiencies” and do not give adequate protection to American companies.

India however, maintains that its IPR laws are in total compliance with the global IP agreement TRIPS and no country had the right to say otherwise.

While the US does not threaten action against countries on the ‘priority watch list’, US laws say that retaliatory measures may be taken if a country slips further and is listed as a priority country — which is the worst categorisation.

The US 301 report says that the US will continue to encourage the Indian government to address the biggest gaps in its IP protections, including “uncertainties and challenges in the patent system (with particular regard for computer-related inventions (CRI) and Section 3(d) of the Patent Act), the need to modernise copyright laws, and the need for regulatory data protections.”

India has already told the US that it will not drop Section 3 (d) of its patent Act, which denies patents on items that are not significantly different from their older versions.