Doing some tough-speaking, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the US Special 301 report on IPR is a “unilateral” move and no country has any right to interfere in the sovereign position of other nation.
These remarks assume significance as the US continues to put India on its ‘priority watch list’ for intellectual property rights (IPR) through its Special 301 report that was released last month. It was alleged that India’s IPR regime is not in compliance with global norms, a charge India strongly contests at all forums.
“Let me be very clear that the Special 301 report is a unilateral report which the US produces. Actually speaking, no country has any right to interfere in the sovereign position of another nation or to inspect, oversee or put it under watch,” Sitharaman said.
Asked about her views on whether the US would consider the new National IPR policy, announced by India, in preparing the next report, she said the decision which the US may take “does not worry me at all”.
She said: “We do not give them a space because that (the report) is not done with mutual consent. I am not worried about that.” The developed countries have raised questions about section 3 (d) of the Indian Patent Act 1970 and compulsory licensing (CL), saying the norms restrict innovation.
The section does not allow patent to be granted to inventions involving new forms of a known substance unless it differs significantly in properties with regard to efficacy. In a way, it stops ever-greening of patents.
The minister said India is the country which provides affordable medicines to the whole world. “Even many developed countries see India as the biggest source of bulk drugs and therefore, (it is) for us to see that our interests are safeguarded. Our intention on this are recorded and articulated well,” she added.
The minister had recently said the US releases the Special 301 report to create pressure on countries to enhance IPR protection beyond the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement.