Saturday, May 7, 2011

European Union And Indian Free Trade Agreement And IPR Issues

India and European Union (EU) are contemplating entering into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) covering many crucial issues. One of the issues pertains to Intellectual Property Rights Protection in India to foreign Goods and Services.

Intellectual Property Rights in India (IPRs in India) are governed by respective legislation and at the International level they are governed by TRIPS Agreement, informs Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based ICT and IP law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal specialist of India. Now EU is insisting upon “TRIPS Plus Conditions” that India is not interested in agreeing to, says Dalal.

India’s stand on highly sensitive IPRs issues has been formulated by the high-powered Trade and Economic Relations Committee (TERC) at its recent meeting Chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Prime Minister firmly directed that the Indian side shall not take on any obligation beyond the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement and domestic law,” Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement after the conclusion of the meeting.The TERC comprises Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan.

India has also been expressing concern over the growing efforts of certain developed countries including EU countries to enact Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA), which contains some provisions relating to enforcement of Intellectual Properties (IP) but are not within the WTO framework.

If EU wishes to have a fruitful and fair FTA, it must ensure a “Level Playing Field”, suggests Dalal. If EU is adamant upon “TRIPS Plus” condition, not much can be expected from the forthcoming negotiations, suggests Dalal.

India must also keep in mind that pharmaceuticals is an area that it cannot take lightly as lives of many are closely related to the same. Let us hope India would not succumb to the pressure of EU.