Centre for Internet & Society

The news from PTI was mirrored in the Economic Times on June 7, 2016. CIS was one of the NGOs that have advised the Prime Minister of India on IPR.

A group of NGOs have appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to succumb to pressure from the US on the issue of intellectual property regime (IPR).  More than 10 eminent NGOs in a statement urged Modi to reconsider the implementation of the National IPR Policy and send the policy back to the drawing board. It urged the Prime Minister to "withstand the pressure from the US government and corporations and to defend the people's interests" and to reject any demand to either initiate negotiation on free trade agreements and/or bilateral investment treaty with the US or joining the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The NGOs are Forum Against FTAs, Lawyers Collective, All Indian Drug Action Network, Initiative for Health & Equity in Society, Third World Network, National Working Group on Patent Laws, Gene Campaign, New Trade Union Initiative, Navdanya, Software Freedom Law Centre, and Centre for Internet and Society.

The NGOs also urged Modi to ensure transparency and accountability in the engagements with the US on IP issues by tabling a White Paper in Parliament.

"We are concerned that the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy adopted by the Cabinet ignores India's experience of implementing a regime of IP protection that balances the rights of the IP holders and public interest, by proposing an 'IP maximalist' agenda," the NGOs said.

They alleged that the IP maximalist agenda in the policy fully ignores the socio-economic needs of people of India and serves the profit motives of Multi National Corporations (MNCs) that own an overwhelming majority of the world's IP.

"We urge the government to reconsider this anti-people policy," the NGOs said.  "We understand the primary intent of the policy is to respond to the aggressive demands of US government, backed by the corporate interests especially the pharmaceutical companies, to amend India's IP laws that include several safeguards to protect the public interest," it said.

"The government of India should remain committed to the welfare of its people's interest and should not succumb to the pressures that it is being subjected to. Above all, the government must fulfill its obligation to protect the rights of the citizens that have been guaranteed by the constitution, in particular, right to health, right to education, and right to food," they said.

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