New Delhi: India continues to languish near the bottom in an international intellectual property index, ranking 43rd out of 45 global economies, according to a report by the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC).
The GIPC also highlighted the need for the government to "build upon the positive rhetoric of its IPR policy with the substantial legislative reforms that innovators need".
This is the fifth year in a row that India has been ranked at the bottom of the pack in the index. However, the 2017 report, titled 'The Roots of Innovation', represents a slight improvement in its performance as the country was ranked last or next-to-last in the last four years.
"In India, many of the same challenges to innovation remain. Although it has made incremental progress, the government needs to build upon the positive rhetoric of its IPR policy with the substantial legislative reforms that innovators need," David Hirschmann, President and CEO of GIPC, said in a statement.
"If Indian policymakers wish to deliver the kinds of results the Modi administration once hoped for, they can act to address issues that impact Indian innovation, such as software patentability, life sciences patents, copyright protection and enforcement, and trade secrets protection," he added.
Hirschmann pointed out that reforms can improve the country's reputation as a destination for doing business, foreign businesses' ability to invest in and make in India, and India's own innovative industries.
The report includes 90% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and grades countries on patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, enforcement and international treaties.
In addition to its anaemic IPR policy, the report cited challenges with the scope of patentability for computer-implemented inventions, Section 3(D) of the Indian Patent Act, and the recent Delhi High Court decision regarding photocopying copyrighted content.
The new economies included in the fifth edition of the index are Egypt, Hungary, Kenya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Spain. India ranks 43, just ahead of Pakistan. The US ranks on top, followed by the UK, Germany, Japan and Sweden respectively. India has seen a slight improvement in its scores overall. However, this increase is largely because of a relatively strong performance on the five new indicators included in the index and not from any actual improvements to the national IP environment, according to the report.