For Immediate Release
June 25, 2014
Contact:

Aaron Fobes/Julia Lawless (202) 224-4515

Hatch Calls on USTR to Engage with New Indian Government on Intellectual Property Issues

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today sent a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman asking that the Ambassador engage the new Indian government on intellectual property issues and report back on the findings of the Out of Cycle Review (OCR) the trade office is currently conducting.

“I am hopeful that your efforts to engage India’s new government will bear fruit and that the new government will address the concerns regarding India’s policies that undermine intellectual property rights protection.  However, I believe there must be consequences if the new government fails to act.  Accordingly, I request that immediately following the conclusion of the OCR, you inform me in writing what actions you and the government of India have taken to ensure these serious problems are addressed.  At a minimum, I would expect such actions to include the development of a written, meaningful and effective action plan with definite timetables for implementation,” Ranking Member Hatch wrote.

The full text of the letter is below:

June 25, 2014

The Honorable Michael Froman
United States Trade Representative
Office of United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20508

Dear Ambassador Froman:           

I write to express my continued concern with India’s policies on intellectual property rights and to request that you take action if India’s new government does not take significant steps to improve its protection of intellectual property rights.  

As I have expressed many times I am very concerned with India’s policies on intellectual property rights, which not only harm U.S. innovators and creators but are extremely shortsighted, inhibiting India’s own economic development.  For example, India continues to ignore its international obligations and misuse its patent law to build up its domestic industry at the expense of U.S. innovators.  India also fails to take adequate steps to address widespread piracy and counterfeiting, and imposes significant discriminatory market access barriers blocking sales of U.S.-made innovative products, and coercing U.S. companies to transfer their technology and intellectual property to local industry. 

In the 2014 Special 301 Report released in April, you stated, “In the coming months, the United States will redouble its efforts to seek opportunities for meaningful, sustained, and effective engagement on IP-related matters with the new government, including at senior levels and through technical exchanges ...”  You further stated that in the fall of 2014 you would initiate an Out of Cycle Review (OCR) of India, “… commencing an assessment of the progress in that engagement.” 

I am hopeful that your efforts to engage India’s new government will bear fruit and that the new government will address the concerns regarding India’s policies that undermine intellectual property rights protection.  However, I believe there must be consequences if the new government fails to act.  Accordingly, I request that immediately following the conclusion of the OCR, you inform me in writing what actions you and the government of India have taken to ensure these serious problems are addressed.  At a minimum, I would expect such actions to include the development of a written, meaningful and effective action plan with definite timetables for implementation.          

The U.S. trade and investment relationship with India is critical and other countries are watching.  I am hopeful that India’s new government will recognize that protection of intellectual property rights is an important element of a strong trade and investment policy.  But if not, we cannot afford to ignore India’s current practices, which harm U.S. innovative and creative industries and threaten the stability of the international trading system.                                             

            Sincerely,

      

            Orrin Hatch    

            Ranking Member

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