News Feature | February 4, 2014

Indian Experts Cast Doubt On US Intellectual Property Index

Source: Pharmaceutical Online

By Marcus Johnson

The US Chamber of Commerce released an intellectual property index ranking 25 countries on the strength of their intellectual property laws. The study compared various factors, such as each country’s enforcement of patents and copyrights, policing against counterfeiting and piracy, as well as the level of legal protections afforded to individuals, groups, or businesses holding patents.

The United States ranked first on the list, with India finishing last. Other notable countries included China, ranked 17th, and Russia, ranked 13th. Each country was given a score up to 30 points indicating perfect intellectual property protection—the US scored 28.5, while India scored 6.95.

Indian analysts question the methods of and motive behind the study, claiming that India does not deserve the worst rank on the intellectual property index. "Underlying this report is a major paradox that protecting weak patents makes the IP regime a strong one," Intellectual property expert Shamnad Basheer said. "Countries such as India that have stood up for genuine innovation and refused to protect trivial inventions have been accused of having 'weak' IP regimes while it should have been the other way round."

The secretary general of Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, DG Shah, has accused the intellectual property index of being biased in favor of American drug companies and against Indian ones. Shah points to the fact that, while the US Chamber of Commerce published the report, it was actually written by Pugatch Consilium, a consulting firm for major western pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, and  Roche. “The GIPC is pushing the US government to take immediate steps to bring very serious pressures on Indian government for the benefit of American companies operating in India even at the cost of public health," said Shah. “It is understood that Pugatch Consilium is also advising big pharma companies and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA).”