US Business Associations urge Obama to take corrective measure for fair trade with India
The captains of seventeen leading US industry associations including including US Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to US President Obama urging him to take effective steps on discriminatory
behavior of Government of India (GOI) with the US business communities. The associations represent the industries from manufacturing to agricultural services. They mentioned that the present Indian
trade policy will jeopardize US exports, scope of domestic jobs. The signatories were also concerned about Intellectual Property Laws of India.
The policy makers of GOI have engaged in persistent pattern of discriminations providing benefits to domestic business of India at the expense of American jobs. Indian courts and patent offices have
imposed arbitrary market restrictions on medical devices and revoked the patents for a dozen of life saving drugs manufactured by multinational Pharmaceutical Companies ignoring the international norms
These actions and others constitute a disturbing trend that may continue and even expand to other products, sectors, and countries. Already many developed countries are considering to follow the
footsteps of India. If that is done, global economic harmony will be destroyed and the common people will be deprived from their rights to obtain the quality goods and services. The signatories urged the president to start to start the dialogue with the Indian counterpart to remind GOI about their commitments to WIPO and WTO.
Let us analyze the allegations made by the industrial houses. How far is it true? They have not provided any specific examples of international norms violation. However, we can assume that some
recent rulings by Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) of India sparked the anger among the European and US business communities. Swiss Pharma Novartis loses patent bid of Gilvec, dismissal of Bayer appeal against Natco and revocation of Pfizer / Sugen’s patent on the drug Sunitinib by Cipla are some recent developments that created a stir among the multinational pharma companies. Section 3(d) of Patent Act was was applied in all the above cases. Multinational pharmaceutical companies expressed their dissatisfaction about section 3(d) section of patent law from the date of its modification in 2005.
What is section 3(d) of Patent law. The Act reads as “The mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance or the
mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance or of the mere use of a known process, machine or apparatus unless such known process results in a new product or employs at least
one new reactant”. Western countries have acquired the majority of the patents and earn extraordinary money monopolizing them. They follow an unethical strategy to protect and extend the life of the
patent. That is called “ever greening” of the patent. “Patent ever greening” is a potentially pejorative term that generally refers to the strategy of obtaining multiple patents that cover different aspects of
the same product, typically by obtaining patents on improved versions of existing products. Using of this technique is common in the pharmaceutical industries to take advantages of extending the market
monopoly of a specific product beyond its legitimate period. Modification of section 3(d) of patent law in 2005, has reduced the scope of extending the time limit. Various independent international health
workers organizations have supported the the policy of Indian Government. They have criticized the big pharmaceutical companies for making a huge profit patenting of slight modification or improvement
on previously patented technology.
However, a meeting between the Indian Parliamentary delegates and US lawmakers in this week painted a highly positive picture of bilateral relation and there is no indication of battle over IP
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