Supporting IP: A Global Challenge and Responsibility
Guest blog by Deputy Director Teresa Stanek Rea
As some of you may know, USPTO’s responsibilities under the American Inventor’s Protection Act (AIPA) include advising the president and other federal agencies on international intellectual property matters. AIPA also empowers USPTO to conduct programs and exchanges regarding international intellectual property law. With a population of approximately 1.2 billion and an economy that grew more than 7% last year, India is an exciting place for U.S. companies to do business. So to further USPTO’s international role, last month I addressed audiences of Indian government officials, industry and academia.
After a bit of rest from a 14-hour flight and getting used to the time difference, I delivered a keynote address at the Global Intellectual Property Convention (GIPC) and then a lecture at Delhi University Law School on the America Invents Act (AIA). As with previous trips, I used my time abroad to spread the word on how the AIA has brought the U.S. patent system into the 21st century by, among other things, encouraging innovation and job creation, improving patent quality, and reducing backlogs. Our office hopes that by spreading the word on the benefits of AIA, we can encourage countries like India to include a micro entity fee and other provisions similar to the AIA in their own patent act, which will benefit U.S. applicants.
Not only did I have the opportunity to educate Indians on AIA, but I also delivered a presentation on the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) at the GIPC. The presentation explained the PPH and its benefits, and it was well received by the audience.
I also took this opportunity to meet with the Indian Patent Office and Indian practitioners to discuss compulsory licensing. This topic is of great interest to U.S. companies and the Indian government is considering whether to grant one or more compulsory licenses to Indian companies. The United States believes that compulsory licenses should only be granted in the rarest of circumstances. We also believe that the patent provides strong incentives for innovation.
While copyright is typically not my realm of expertise, as the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, I have a responsibility to inform, educate and advise on all forms of intellectual property, so while in New Delhi, we met with the Indian Copyright Registrar to discuss India’s draft copyright bill. We are hoping to see the passage of an Indian copyright bill that will implement the WIPO Internet Treaties in order to adapt Indian copyright law to the digital age.
Of interest to examiners would be enhanced cooperation on India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). I met with the Indian Counsel of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to discuss expanding the use of TKDL, a database of traditional knowledge that the Indian government has made available to USPTO patent examiners. We plan to host several CSIR trainers at USPTO this spring to discuss the TKDL with examiners and other agency staff.
The trip allowed me to exchange information about the U.S. and Indian IP systems and to reinforce USPTO’s strong interest in working with the government of India to achieve mutually beneficial goals through strong intellectual property regimes.