Guest Post by Srividhya Ragavan of the University of Oklahoma College of Law
The Indian Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion recently requested comments to the Draft National Intellectual Property (IP) Policy that has been unveiled by a Think-tank which was the subject of much criticism for comprising largely of folks without adequate expertise in India. This Policy is a by-product of what most people would describe as undue pressure by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) as well as the International Trade Commission (USITC) bearing down on India backed by the political lobby of the IP industry, especially the originator pharmaceutical industry which seeks to maintain and expand the IP empires they currently occupy on the global scene. Perhaps, as a consequence of the pressure, a National Committee was hastily convened and worked within 3 months without any public engagement that a national of this stature would deserve and consequently, released a draft of the policy (National IP Policy).
I joined with Sean Flynn of American University and Brook Baker of North Eastern Law School to make a submission on the Draft Policy (submission) to highlight that it needs to include core doctrinal and policy considerations at the center of IP policy debates and IP’s role in trade relations. Our submission emphasizes that it is important to ensure that the National IPR Policy focus on IP as a tool to achieve sustainable human development goals. Usually, the exercise of drafting a National IPR Policy is a congruence of expert debate, discussion, and thought that results in a careful calibration of various competing interests with a clear course for the nation.