U.S. Trade Representative Launches Investigation Into India’s IP Practices

By Nathaniel DeLucia

The U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) recent “out-of-cycle review” of India’s IP laws is a perfect example of the tension that arises between patent laws and international treaties. The USTR launched its investigation because it believes India’s laws may be hurting products covered by US patent and copyright.  Specifically, the USTR takes issue with India’s practice of issuing compulsory licenses over the objections of the patent owners and the allegedly high rates of internet piracy.  Two international agreements, to which both the US and India are members, complicate the matter  The first is the TRIPS agreement, which outlines what the member countries feel are appropriate IP laws and which India appears to be in compliance with.  Second, is that as a WTO member, the US is supposed to settle this dispute in the WTO and not by taking unilateral action.

For a detailed discussion of how these agreements complicate the USTR investigation, see IP-Watch’s article, located here.