New Delhi: India has ranked 37th out of 38 countries for its intellectual property rights environment in the annual IP index released by the United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC).

Based on six key parameters like rights and limitations of the patent, copyright and trademark regimes, trade secrets, enforcement and ratification of international treaties, the index painted a grim picture of India, which scored 7.05, lower than last year’s 7.23.

The index, prepared by USCC’s Global Intellectual Property Chamber, found the US leading the index with 28.61 points. Venezuela ranked below India with 6.42 points on the index.

“While we have been encouraged by the (Narendra) Modi Administration’s rhetoric to improve India’s IP environment, we have yet to see it translate into concrete action," said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of GIPC, in a press release.

According to the index, India took the biggest hit on its patent regime for its bar on patentability of incremental changes under Section 3(d) of the Patent Act 1970, compulsory licensing provisions and uncertainty regarding computer-related inventions (CRI).

Moreover, absence of regulations for data protection, court verdicts for taking down content on copyright infringements and poor enforcement of civil and criminal remedies were weaknesses of the Indian IP regime.

The fact that India was not party to major international treaties, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, was also a consideration.

“A large number of strengths have not been considered. The robust litigation system that is in place has been completely ignored because you’ll see that enforcement of IP is almost at its peak in India, in my view. Every court ruling in the last one year has been in favour of patents and trademarks. The commercial courts act has completely been notified. The bill has been passed. It’s a gamechanger for IP litigation. The recruitment of examiners in IPOs is a positive step. India becoming a PCT international searching authority and the entire office being set up is a development that is important. Court rulings have supported strengthening of the IP administration, for eg., setting up of separate benches of IPAB has been directed. In Delhi a full fledged office of the IPAB has been set up. One has to take note of the positives. The IP policy should be released soon. The index would have been more positive to India if all these aspects were considered," said Prathiba Singh, senior advocate.

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