Issue Date: May 15, 2017
U.S. slams China, India, and others over weak patent protection
The Trump Administration is sharply criticizing India, China, Indonesia, and several other countries it says are not properly enforcing and protecting the intellectual property rights of U.S. drugmakers and other businesses. In a congressionally required annual report released in late April, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) placed 11 countries on a “priority watch list” for their perceived intellectual property rights abuses, such as failing to prevent the export of counterfeit drugs and inadequately enforcing patents. The report says nearly 90% of counterfeit medicines seized at the U.S. border in fiscal 2016 came from China, Hong Kong, India, and Singapore. USTR says U.S. pharmaceutical companies remain concerned about the potential threat posed to their intellectual property through the Indian government’s possible use of compulsory licensing, which allows local firms to override patents and make cheaper generic copies of brand-name drugs. The report singles out China for its “coercive” technology transfer requirements, structural barriers to effective IPR enforcement, and “widespread infringing activity,” including trade secret theft.
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