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BRIC Countries Called Out for Weak IP Protection

Issued: March 01 2013
The United States Chamber of Commerce has released a new report regarding intellectual property protection in different countries. While Brazil, Russia, India and China have long been known as the BRIC group, they are now also known for their weak IP protection, as they receive the lowest scores out of 11 countries.
The point scale ranges from zero to 25, with higher scores indicating stronger IP rights protection. The United States received the highest overall score at 23.73, with the United Kingdom coming in second at 22.40.
Among BRIC countries, India had the lowest overall score of the entire study, with 6.24 points. China scored 9.13; Brazil scored 9.57 and Russia had the highest of the group, 11.17 points.
Nishchal Anand, a senior associate at Anand and Anand in Noida, tells Asia IP that India’s low score might be due to weak punishment. “The punishment prescribed for infringement of either, trademark or copyright, is extendable to a maximum of only Rs200,000 (US$3,680) and imprisonment which may be extended up to three years. This punishment level may seem meagre comparing with other countries’ laws.”
In addition, convictions are rarely made in India, he says. “There have hardly been any convictions awarded by Indian Courts with respect to infringement of IP. The enforcement agencies are less aware about IP protection and lack a proactive approach,” he adds.
India has taken a pro-generic approach by rejecting renowned patents in recent cases, Anand says.
“In the Novartis case, both the patent office and the Intellectual Property Appellate Board denied the patent application for Gleevec – a cancer drug manufactured by Novartis, which is widely considered as a breakthrough invention and is patented in over 40 countries,” he says.
At the other end, Russia is seemingly the winner within the BRIC group, but the score may be misleading, as four points were awarded for global IP protection agreement memberships. 

“Overall, Russia’s environment is characterized by a distinct contrast between its level of participation in international treaties and its de facto implementation of rules and regulations,” the report stated.
Other countries named in the report include Australia (21.63), Canada (14.21), Mexico (12.38) and Malaysia (11.25).



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