Why in News?
India continues to figure in the US’ Priority Watch List that identifies trade barriers to US companies due to intellectual property (IP) laws of other countries.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
In its annual Special 301 report, the USTR ( United States Trade Representative ) has placed India, along with China and ten others in the list for not adequately or effectively protecting and enforcing IP rights or denying market access to US innovators and creators.
Though the US has taken cognisance of steps taken by India to improve its IP environment such as the National IP Policy and Startup India, it identified longstanding IP challenges faced by its businesses in India. These include those which make it difficult for innovators to receive and maintain patents in India, particularly for pharmaceuticals.
Another issue relates to enforcement action and policies that are insufficient to curb the problem, copyright policies that do not properly incentivize the creation and commercialization of content, and an outdated and insufficient trade secrets legal framework.
United States Trade Representative (USTR) is an agency that is part of the executive office of the President of the US. USTR creates an annual Special 301 list since 1989 . USTR places those countries that have either national laws or regulations that detrimentally affect U.S. trade or the rights of IP holders on this list . USTR places these countries in three categories. The most egregious violators are featured as Priority Foreign Countries (PFC), serious offenders are featured on the Priority Watch List (PWL), and less serious offenders in the Watch List (WL).