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Commerce minister: India fully-compliant with WTO

Issued: June 24 2015

India’s intellectual property framework is fully-compliant with the World Trade Organization, commerce minister Nirmala Sitaharaman said in a recent telecast.


“It is pure misinformation that India has poor protection for intellectual property,” she said on the television programme Talkathon, produced by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. “India has a robust legislative framework and any company holding a patent is well-protected.”


Intellectual property rights have been a sticking point in India-US relations, dating back at least to a September 2014 meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama in Washington.


According to a White House statement released at the time, the two leaders agreed to establish an annual high-level intellectual property working group with appropriate decision-making and technical-level meetings as part of the Trade Policy Forum.


“There are no reports detailing the content of discussions on intellectual property between Prime Minister Modi and President Obama,” Ashwin Julka, managing partner at Remfry & Sagar in Gurgaon, told Asia IP in September. “However, the primary concerns of the US and other Western countries are well-known. Mr Modi has expressed a strong commitment to improving the business environment and has made known that the government will come out with a comprehensive IP policy in the next few months. Whether this policy will fully address issues raised by Western nations is debatable, for Mr Modi is unlikely to be in a position to ignore domestic compulsions.”


Sitaharaman said that there is “not a single case against India” at the WTO. “If our patent laws were poor, any number of countries could have dragged us to international courts on IPR matters,” she added.


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