The US- India Joint Statement issued by the Prime Minister of India and the President of the United States of America after the bilateral summit had the following reference to IPR issues “Agreeing on the need to foster innovation in a
manner that promotes economic growth and job creation the leaders committed to establish an annual high level Intellectual Property (IP) Working Group with appropriate decision making and technical level meetings as a part of the trade policy forum”.
It is appropriate to mention that there already exists the Innovation and Creativity Focus Group in the Trade Policy Forum since 2010 to consult each other no less than twice a year on “Improving intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, enhancing awareness of intellectual property rights, fostering innovation and creativity, and increasing collaboration between U.S and Indian innovators". The statement on US-India Trade Policy Forum was signed by the then Commerce and Industries Minister in March 2010 with his US counterpart.
The joint statement issued now merely reiterates whatever has existed in the earlier Trade Policy Forum. IPR issues are critical for both the countries and India has been repeatedly raising the issue of copy right piracy and misappropriation of traditional knowledge with the U.S.
India has consistently pointed out that the IPR legal regime in India is fully TRIPS compliant and that any issues to be discussed have to be discussed in bilateral forums like Trade Policy Forum. India has refused to be subjected to unilateral action proposed by US under the Special 301 report, an annual report on IPR under US Trade Act.
USA agreeing to discuss IPR issues through the bilateral mechanism of the Trade Policy forum is in fact a re-affirmation of India’s stand that issues need bilateral discussion and not unilateral action. The statement on the IPR issue will only strengthen the bilateral institutional mechanism