The whole new wave of optimism has taken over as Narendra Modi led BJP emerges as the single largest party with a whopping 282 seats at the Center to constitute the 16th Lok Sabha. The impact of this phenomenal win will surely lead to several big changes in economy, business & society.
Consequently, foreign companies who earlier were keen but hesitant to invest in India will come forth in full fervor. This is strongly indicated as BJP had shared several IP related plans in its election manifesto. Foreign firms foresee that the challenges facing them will be overcome and quick reforms will be initiated leading to favorable changes in the Indian Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime, legal systems pertaining to foreign investments, use of compulsory licensing (CL) for essential pharmaceutical drugs etc.
Presenting an account of major areas where these reforms were promised and (“if implemented”) will have a strong impact.
#India’s IPR Landscape
- Research universities and institutes nurturing innovations shall be given the desired promotion. In general, all types on inventors and innovative businesses shall be given a conducive environment to flourish
- Specialized IP courts shall be created on lines similar to the Unified European Patent Court for modernizing & streamlining the IP system and proceedings
- The disputes related to IP should be fast tracked and the judicial system dealing with it should become efficient as well. For that matter, vacancies in courts and patent offices should be quickly filled, more number of lower level courts should be established and use of IT should be promoted in the courts.
#India’s Trade Ties
Although Indian government has maintained that its IPR laws are in compliance with WTO norms and rules, US based pharmaceutical companies have constantly been criticizing India over its IP policies.
They have accused that the country does not follow modern patentability standards as the world IP community and does not even grant compulsory licenses astutely. Similarly, many EU companies find the actual market scenario in India distinctly different from their original understanding. In short, it calls for some extensive reforms to initiate trade facilitation. So, the expectations from “Modi”-fied government is that it fends off discriminatory licensing requirements and certification schemes. The government shall also ensure that intellectual property laws provide for clear protection so that IP rights could be vigorously enforced against misappropriation and infringement.
The core doctrines of Indian M&A laws are in the process of undergoing modernization. Improvements in the following areas are much needed to attract greater number of foreign firms into the country–
- Bringing consistency and clarity across various laws still subject to the varying interpretations by regulators. Regulator’s unpredictable interpretations of the regulations of the new Companies Act, 2013, the Competition Act, 2002 SEBI Takeover Regulations in 2011, in the past, have led to substantial confusion and an upheaval of settled market practice.
- Quick action to approve major bills including Direct Tax Code and bring in financial sector reforms on pension funds, banking and insurance. Currently, there are 116+ major bills that are awaiting parliamentary approval.
- Implementation of the GAAR regime with immediate effect.
You may read more about IP issues related to M&A’s here.