Clara Gillispie
The National Bureau of Asian Research

Event Highlights from "Innovate in India: Global Perspectives on the Continuing Evolution of India's IP Policy"

Over the course of 2015, NBR hosted public forums in Washington, D.C., Seattle, and New Delhi, India, to discuss findings from the NBR Special Report “Innovate in India: Global Perspectives on the Continuing Evolution of India’s IP Policy.” Combined, these events brought together more than 150 representatives from across the Asia-Pacific and were opportunities to gain insight from senior policymakers and innovation specialists on India’s evolving IP policy.

These highlights offer policymakers, media, and other readers quick insight into India’s environment for intellectual property (IP) and innovation and policy recommendations for both India and the United States.


“Indian companies are going to have to create IP in order to exist in the next twenty years. Wipro wants to be involved in IP creation; we’re creating IP labs in India and the United States. As Indian companies go outside India, you’re going to see more interaction between U.S. and Indian executives. Now we have one hundred lawyers—this is what Americans do, bring in the lawyers. It brings new norms and raises the standards. Now they’re driving innovation in Wipro that didn’t happen before. Indian companies are going to be far more innovative and surpass the Chinese in terms of innovation in the coming years.”
—Kapil Sharma, Wipro

“50% of India is below the age of 25. We need to create a network that will allow for innovation and student-led entrepreneurship.”
—Stewart Beck, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

“40% of U.S. drugs face IP challenges. Most of you are probably familiar with compulsory licensing from 2012 as well as patent denials under Section 3D of the Indian Patents Act. These issues create a tremendous amount of uncertainty for biopharmaceutical companies bringing pharmaceutical drugs to India. Moreover, India is facing big challenges to providing healthcare services. It’s important to create a system for IP enforcement and new medicines as soon as possible for companies. IP is a tool for growth and development in India.”
—Amiee Adasczik aloi, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

“BSA [Business Software Alliance] represents some of the most well-known and cutting-edge software companies: Adobe, AutoDesk, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, etc. These companies rely heavily on IPR, and we have an interest in ensuring that environments around the world are open. In India, we still struggle with piracy rates. These rates are around 60% and represent commercial values of $3 billion, which is a pretty significant loss.”
—Jared Ragland, Business Software Alliance

“Many U.S. companies have had a lot of success in innovation in India. Ford has developed a successful plant in Chennai that has innovated successful strategies, including new assembly lines. These are new ideas that they innovated in India and brought to other parts of the world. I’m sure you have all heard of portable ECG devices that GE developed for the Indian rural market and then brought back to the United States. We have also seen interesting moves, such as a new national innovation council.”
—Sumani Dash, Confederation of Indian Industry

“Whether we are talking about ‘Make in India,’ ‘Digital India,’ ‘Skill India,’ or ‘Smart Cities,’ all of these initiatives critically depend on whether or not those who hold the intellectual property find India’s environment conducive enough for investment.”
—Rajiv Kumar, Centre for Policy Research; Pahle India Foundation

“Why does something like Skype develop somewhere else and not in India? Because people here don’t appreciate that there is something very positive that happens with knowledge creation…. [Yet] there is absolutely a strong correlation between innovation and competitiveness.”
—Amit Kapoor, India Council on Competitiveness

“From my perspective, what I see is a [Modi] government that is very aggressive on trying to stimulate economic growth, and which has set a target to be in the top 50 ranked countries for the [World Bank’s] ‘Ease of Doing Business Survey.’ That’s a huge target and suggests that there is a growing interest in partnerships between India and other countries.”
—Pallavi Mehta Wahi, K&L Gates

“Mr. Modi has put in place the things that companies need to do business: an understandable regulatory system, access to water, and access to power. That goes to show you how he has been able to manage that process. And since then, Mr. Modi has gone out and really sold India on his ability to bring economic prosperity to everyone…. [H]e has been the individual who is leading everything, and so if he is engaged on IP, that is suggestive of an ability to move forward.”
—Stewart Beck, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

“If you can’t innovate, you will not survive [as a company].”
—R. Guha, Wipro


“Stronger IPR protections will increase inward FDI, facilitate technology transfer to a greater degree, and support higher innovation rates. The greatest benefit would be to India itself, and this is notable and worthy of the attention of the Modi administration.”
—Roy Kamphausen, NBR

“My point of view is pretty clear. I am very much for full protection of intellectual property in this country because it is a justifiable return, and if you don’t do it, your aspirations of being a leading knowledge producer in the world will not be met.”
—Rajiv Kumar, Centre for Policy Research; Pahle India Foundation

“[On IPR protection,] India [has traditionally] followed a legalistic approach toward reforms. We add something to the statute books and think it’s done and over with, but we don’t follow it up…. Putting it in the statute books is where we begin and end. As a result, even our own generics producers are suffering. The harmful effect of that is on the consumers.”
—Rajiv Kumar, Centre for Policy Research; Pahle Indi< Foundation

“The issue that has arisen is: what is it that really matters for stimulating innovation and growth? Is it intellectual property, the competitive environment, or an R&D system that is capable of fast-breaking innovations?…. We cannot reduce the whole issue of innovation and growth to one of IP protection.”
—Nitin Desai, The Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University

“What does innovation really depend on? It is the strength of our human resources, the strength of our research, the vision that our corporate leaders have, and a business environment that promotes innovation. An IPR regime is just one of these factors.”

—Chandni Raina, Centre for WTO Studies, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade

“In India, we need to promote domestic innovation in order to achieve future growth…. Given our state of development, we have been able to get away with a lax IPR regime for long enough. But the time for change is coming soon.”
—Pradeep Agrawal, The Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University

“If we want to create wealth, we have to incentivize corporations to do it by protecting their knowledge. Why do we say that brands should be protected but not IP? They are both part of the same game…. If you don’t protect the IP, innovation is not going to happen.”
—Amit Kapoor, India Council on Competitiveness

“I want the Indian private sector to say that we can do better than what we have done so far. We don’t need a patent regime to force us to do the right thing. We need to do it because it’s in our own interests.”
—R. Guha, Wipro

“There is a strong correlation between the way states are performing and their patenting behavior. We found that the states in India with higher patenting rates had higher rates of growth.”
—Amit Kapoor, India Council on Competitiveness

“Why do you need a strong IPR regime? Until we have a system that rewards innovators, there won’t be innovation in India…. Innovation plays the central role. If you cannot protect it, then FDI suffers. Strong IPR protection is linked to getting strong FDI.”
—Pravakar Sahoo, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University

“Let’s not confuse or define ‘IPR’ regime as just patents because there are other things that can reward innovators.”
—Subir Gokarn, Brookings India

“Technology moves so fast and is continually changing. Given the pace of change, it was crucial for Wipro to protect the IP that we’d been working on…. [I]t became clear that IP protections were needed if we wanted our innovations to be relevant for a long time. Within this decade, there is going to be a big change in how Indian corporations look at IP and engage with policy…. IP will need to be created so that they can have an impact on their bottom line for years to come. IP in India will not only allow us to differentiate and build a competitive advantage; it’s really going to be critical for our survival.”
—Kapil Sharma, Wipro

“[On the intellectual property front] we are seeing an emerging moment in India. Whether you describe this moment as driven by the rise of Indian industry stakeholders or by reinvigorated policy leadership under Prime Minister Modi, what we are seeing is a real opportunity to engage with stakeholders on IP issues that are increasingly of common concern.”
—Senator Slade Gorton

“The issues surrounding India’s IP environment are becoming more and more important as India emerges as the world’s third-largest economy. [The protection of IPR] is important for India, Asia, and the stability of global markets. There have been many accomplishments, but we still face many challenges in how to work collaboratively.”
—Clara Gillispie, NBR


“A successful U.S.-India strategic partnership must have a strong foundation in a growing economic relationship. This report will help to contribute to a constructive dialogue and chart a path for better economic ties between our two countries.”
—Meredith Miller, NBR

“It’s important to clear out the irritants in the relationship. For IPR to succeed, what U.S. companies need in order to invest in India and make India succeed is clearer rules of the road—what are the expectations, who do you have to get approval from, and once you get approval, is there certainty that IPR will stand the test of time?”
—Mark Brunner, Office of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Senate India Caucus

“From a year ago, we’ve made a lot of progress. U.S. companies that have never been involved in India are eager to invest. India’s ‘single window’ concept holds tremendous promise. As a foreign company, you could arrive in India and get all your paperwork complete to set up a business. Currently, there are eleven steps in place, and the process is no shorter than 180 days. Single-window would be a real incentive and create buzz among foreign companies that India is genuinely welcoming foreign companies.”
—Mark Brunner, Office of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Senate India Caucus


“When you look at the number of patent applications in India, there are roughly 40,000. 10,000 come from the United States, the European Union, and India, and 6,000 come from Japan. This is a relatively small number, but it is increasing. From now on, our engagement in IPR will be more and more intensified, and I hope there will be many areas where we can collaborate.”
—Ichiro Abe, Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (Japan); Japan External Trade Organization, New Delhi


“When we go into trade discussions, one of the things we fight hard to protect is intellectual property rights. Yet there is a lot of pushback on this issue and in trade in general. [For example,] the average American worker does not believe that IP personally benefits them or that IP has created thousands of U.S. jobs. We need to confront this. We need to get the average worker to see that aggressively protecting intellectual property is necessary for our economy and for everybody.”
—Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA)

“Clearly, there’s a need, especially with younger Indian parliamentarians, to bring parliamentarians over to the United States for a significant amount of time—just for a few weeks to get to know the system and their counterparts in the U.S. legislative branch. I think it is important to have a bilateral think-tank component as well to help with the policy issues.”
—Mark Brunner, Office of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Senate India Caucus

“We should look at not only central government policy but also state government policy. Many investment challenges like land acquisition and other issues fall under state governments. Each state is very eager to invite foreign investment; this hasn’t always been true in the past.”
—ichiro Abe, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Japan); Japan External Trade Organization, New Delhi

“We’ve used the word ‘patience’ in terms of India for twenty years; at some point, we have to stop using that word. We must look at how the prime minister can handle the parliament. The most interesting thing about India’s new budget is that Modi has pushed more and more money to the state governments and is really requiring them to take leadership. The key is seeing if the state governments have the people and the power to make progress.”
—Kapil Sharma, Wipro

“Today, intellectual property rights are violated in a number of ways, including violating copyright and trademark protections, infringing on patents, and stealing trade secrets…. It is important to remember that nearly all IP loss, no matter how high-tech, still requires a human component…. So, while members of Congress continue to work on solving the issue of cybertheft and hacking, we would encourage them to consider expanding policy proposals to tools and strategies that can address IP theft more generally.”
—Senator Slade Gorton

“We suggest that the Indian government ought to unilaterally declare a moratorium or hiatus on the requirement of compulsory licenses. Other important policy and legal changes that ought to be considered include a specialized IP court and passage of a trade-secrets law. This is an important issue in international trade negotiations. India should also consider passage of a version of the Bayh-Dole Act in the United States, which creates incentives for institutions and universities to pursue IP for their own research.”
—Roy Kamphausen, NBR


“Strengthened IPR protections in India will increase investor confidence and decrease market uncertainties; create a more hospitable environment for technological transfer, which is so essential for reforming India’s manufacturing sector; and thus help achieve the ambitious ‘Make in India’ economic agenda of the Modi administration.”
—Roy Kamphausen, NBR

“This report notes that the future strength of the bilateral U.S.-Indian relationship is linked to both sides developing a way to deal with challenging issues…. Ultimately, strengthening the overall bilateral relationship must take a bottom-up approach by addressing and solving bilateral issues as they arise.”
—Roy Kamphausen, NBR