The US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has released its 2020 annual report.
According to the report, India has been put on the “Priority Watch List” along with eight other countries.
Another twenty-three countries were put on “Watch List”.
Reasons for categorizing India as a “Country of Particular Concern”:
- According to the report, India has been inconsistent in the progress of IP protection. Though the enforcement of IP has gradually improved, India lacks in providing benefits for innovators.
- The patent issues are of great concern in India.
- The Indian Patent Law lacks patent validity and holds narrow patentability criteria.
- This burdens companies in different sectors.
- It leads to patent revocations.
- Revocation is official cancellation.
- Patent applicants are facing issues with time consuming pre and post grant procedures.
- They face difficulties of long waiting periods to receive patent approval.
- Stakeholders of India continue to express concerns over vagueness in the interpretation of Indian Patents Act.
About Special Report by USTR:
- The Special 301 Report is prepared annually by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that identifies trade barriers to United States companies and products due to the intellectual property laws, such as copyright, patents and trademarks, in other countries.
- By April 30 of each year, the USTR must identify countries which do not provide “adequate and effective” protection of intellectual property rights or “fair and equitable market access to United States persons that rely upon intellectual property rights”.
- The Special 301 Report is published pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 as amended by Section 1303 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.
- The Special 301 Report was first published in 1989.
- By statute, the annual Special 301 Report includes a list of “Priority Foreign Countries”, that are judged to have inadequate intellectual property laws; these countries may be subject to sanctions.
- In addition, the report contains a “Priority Watch List” and a “Watch List”, containing countries whose intellectual property regimes are deemed of concern.
- The report basically lists the countries that do not provide sufficient IP rights to American companies.
About US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
- USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, the first of its kind in the world, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom
- The commission makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.