Washington, Aug 15 IANS | 2 years ago

Asserting that it honours patent laws, India has vowed to enhance India-US strategic partnership "through its careful backing of patent law" as they cooperate on health care, disease control and prevention.

"India has experienced transformational economic growth over the past two decades," Indian ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, said Wednesday, "thanks in large measure to reforms that opened India's markets to global commerce."

"Innovation and entrepreneurship have been fostered by vigorous enforcement of trade agreements and patent laws," she wrote in an op-ed articles titled "India honours - not dishonours - patent laws" in The Hill, a newspaper focusing on Congressional affairs.

Vigorously defending India's record, Rao said: "Intellectual property laws passed over forty years have extensively protected patents, designs and trademarks."

"The Patents Act of 1970, amended in 1999, 2002 and 2005, is considered a model in the developing world," she said asserting "Critics who say otherwise are simply wrong."

Referring to corporate America's criticism of the Indian Supreme Court's judgement denying Novartis' request to retain the patent on a cancer drug, Rao said the "alleged patent 'infringement' is actually a case study in patent protection."

India's apex court, she noted had turned down the pharmaceutical company's request because it judged the drug to be an extension of existing medications, not a groundbreaking advancement.

"In other words, the court reinforced the premium that should rightly be placed on truly valid patents, strengthening, not weakening, their sanctity," Rao said.

India makes a priority of complying with international treaties such as the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement of the World Trade Organization.

In March, an Indian patent appeals court ruled that the so-called compulsory license law that helps make medicines affordable for the 300 million Indians who live below the poverty line, was strictly TRIPS-compliant.

India assures US it honours patent laws

India "worked hard to balance the rights of patent holders with our civic imperative to protect public health," Rao wrote noting "in more than six decades, India has issued only one compulsory license on a compound pharmaceutical."

"This is hardly evidence of a climate hostile to either innovation or US-based companies."

"In their Strategic Partnership, the US and India cooperate on many fronts, with health care, disease control and prevention near the top of the list," Rao said asserting "India is dedicated to enhancing that partnership through its careful backing of patent law."

(Posted on 15-08-2013)