Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 06/2012

Intellectual property and e-commerce in India: Prepare for opportunity

May 2012

Economist Intelligence Unit


The loosening of administrative restrictions on licensing and related remittances in 1991 led to an increase in the number of international licensing agreements in India. Many foreign companies involved in India use a combination of exporting, licensing and direct investment. According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance, India’s intellectual-property laws are strong, but the country still suffers high piracy rates and poor enforcement. Corruption, a lack of both resources and training for law-enforcement officials, and an overburdened court system contribute to the poor enforcement. Importing of pirated materials from neighbouring countries, such as Pakistan and Malaysia, continues unchecked. The alliance recommends, among other things, that India adopt an optical-disc law; increase the number of unprompted raids; establish a national antipiracy task-force; enact judicial reforms to unburden the courts, including the setting up of specialised intellectual-property courts or judges; and improve existing state-level police groups to ensure that they act against violators. The Reserve Bank of India (the central bank), through its regional offices, grants automatic approval to all industries for foreign-technology agreements.