India’s Privacy Bill Could Threaten Innovation and Growth (USTR)


On Thursday, the United States raised concerns about India’s draft Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill and draft Non-Personal Data Governance Framework, saying these could potentially threaten innovation and economic growth.

In its latest “Special 301” report, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) kept India on the priority watch list, saying the country remains one of the world’s toughest major economies when it comes to protecting and intellectual property (IP) enforcement.

“In December 2021, a Joint Parliamentary Committee released a report recommending changes to the PDP Bill, 2019 that could undermine important intellectual property protections in India. Among those recommendations was broadening the scope of the bill to include further regulation of non-personal data instead of dealing with this issue under separate legislation. On several occasions and in various forums, the United States has raised intellectual property concerns regarding the potential implementation of India’s data governance regime. These concerns are particularly acute, given India’s outdated and insufficient legal framework for the protection of trade secrets. On this and other potential legislation affecting intellectual property, the United States encourages India to undertake a transparent process that provides stakeholders with ample opportunity to comment,” he added.

Over the years, India has dismissed the observations of the ‘Special 301’ report, saying it was a unilateral US government report and that India fully complies with multilateral intellectual property regulations. .

The USTR said patent issues continue to be a concern in India.

“The potential threat of revocation of patents, lack of presumption of validity of patents and narrow criteria for patentability under Indian patent law are impacting businesses across different sectors. In addition, patent applicants continue to face costly and time-consuming pre- and post-grant oppositions, long wait times to receive granted patents, and excessive reporting requirements. Stakeholders continue to raise concerns about vagueness in the interpretation of Indian patent law,” he added.

The report says that while India has made significant progress in promoting the protection and enforcement of intellectual property in certain areas over the past year, the country has failed to address recent issues and long-standing and has created new concerns for intellectual property rights holders.

“The United States is monitoring India’s next steps, including any actions taken in response to the October 2020 request for public comment by the Department for the Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade on the India’s copyright law amendment The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2019, containing promising provisions to criminalize the unauthorized camcording of films, is still awaiting parliamentary approval. June 2021, the Department of Information and Broadcasting sought public comment on a 2021 Motion Picture (Amendment) Bill, which incorporates revisions to the 2019 bill. law,” he added.

The United States has accused India of drug counterfeiting, saying trademark counterfeiting continues globally and involves the production, transshipment and sale of a wide range of counterfeit products.

“The majority, by value, of all counterfeit pharmaceuticals seized at the U.S. border in 2020-2021 were shipped or transhipped via India, China, and the Dominican Republic. A recent study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Union Intellectual Property Office revealed that China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Pakistan are the main sources of counterfeit medicines distributed in the world,” he added.

The report says that despite India’s justifications for limiting intellectual property protections as a way to promote access to technology, India maintains high tariffs on intellectual property-intensive products, such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, information and communication technology products, solar energy equipment and capital. goods.

“In the pharmaceutical (pharma) sector, the United States continues to monitor the restriction on patent-eligible subject matter in Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act and its impact. Stakeholders also continue to engage. concern whether India has an effective system of protection against unfair commercial use and unauthorized disclosure of undisclosed tests or other data generated to obtain marketing authorization for pharmaceutical chemicals and agriculture,” he added.


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