India and the US this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on intellectual property cooperation. America put India under the priority watch list, it means that America says that our IPR laws are not up to the mark and not as stringent as American and European laws.

    What is the MoU about?

    The agreement, between the Commerce Ministry’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), aims to increase IP cooperation between the two countries.

    It was signed virtually by DPIIT secretary Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra and USPTO director Andrei Iancu on Wednesday (December 2), nearly 10 months after India’s Cabinet had given approval for the country to enter the MoU.

    “The MoU will go a long way in fostering cooperation between India and the USA, and provide opportunities to both countries to learn from the experience of each other, especially in terms of best practices followed in the other country. It will be a landmark step forward in India’s journey towards becoming a major player in global innovation and will further the objectives of National IPR Policy, 2016,” the Commerce Ministry said in a release

    How will this MoU increase IP cooperation between India and the US?

    * The MoU will facilitate the exchange and dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP among the public as well as between and among the industry, universities, research and development (R&D) organisations and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This will happen through their participation in programs and events that are singly or jointly organised by the participants.

    * It is also expected to encourage collaboration in training programs, exchange of experts, technical exchanges and outreach activities.

    * The MoU provides for the exchange of information and best practices on processes for registration and examination of applications for patents, trademarks, copyrights, geographical indications, and industrial designs, as well as the protection, enforcement and use of IP rights.

    * It also provides for the exchange of information on the development and implementation of automation and modernisation projects, new documentation and information systems in IP and procedures for management of IP office services.

    * It is also expected to foster their cooperation to understand various issues related to traditional knowledge and the exchange of best practices, including those related to traditional knowledge databases and awareness raising on the use of existing IP systems to protect traditional knowledge.

    How will it be implemented?

    The two sides will draw up a biennial work plan to implement the MoU, including detailed planning to carry out the cooperation activities like the scope of action.