WASHINGTON: India’s overall business environment has improved and the country is also taking a hard look at its IP-related competitiveness, an American business advocacy group has told the US government.

“India’s overall business environment has improved and likewise India is taking a hard look at its IP-related competitiveness,” the US Chamber of Commerce said in a submission to the US Trade Representative in its hearing on Special 301 Submission.

At the same time the chamber said much work remains and it looks forward to addressing, among other things, patentability requirements that remain outside established international best practices; improving specific IP rights for the life sciences sector; and improving the enforcement environment by working with Indian authorities to combat high levels of physical and online piracy.

A clear commitment by the Indian government to establish, adequately resource and effectively implement an IP-led innovation model will surely help to achieve the goal of $500 billion a year of bilateral trade, it said.

Over the past 12 months, it said there has been important evidence of a recalibration of the political attitude towards intellectual property (IP) in India.

The past year was marked by several sustained dialogues on a broad range of intellectual property rights issues between India and the US under the Trade Policy Forum, the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, and the High-Level Working Group on Intellectual Property.

“The level and frequency of engagement between the US and Indian governments was encouraging and with many seasoned observers noting that they had not seen this level of engagement with the government ever before,” it said.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has been one of the most vocal proponents for robust IP standards and we have seen some positive developments on the ground, particularly in the area of IP judgments,” it said.

Positive decisions by the Delhi High Court in 2015 in MSD (Merck) vs Glenmark and Roche vs Cipla reflect the increased capacity and competency of Indian judges to resolve patent infringement cases, assess damages, and order injunctive relief, it noted.

“We recognise the willingness of the Modi government to engage with industry and the US government on these issues,” the chamber said adding the government has undertaken a review of the Indian IPR environment to prepare a National IPR Policy intended to “transform India into an innovative economy”.

The launch of the Make in India, Digital India, and Start-Up India initiatives underscore the importance of IP protections to India’s continued economic growth and the development of its technology and manufacturing base.

“We are encouraged by the positive tone of the bilateral dialogue and the decrease in adverse intellectual property events,” it said, adding that accordingly, there is currently no substantive basis for a change in India’s previous designation from the 2015 Special 301 Review.