WASHINGTON: India has climbed eight places to rank 36th in the latest annual International IP Index released by the US Chambers of Commerce which said the improvement is a "real accomplishment" but substantial challenges persist, particularly regarding the country's patenting and IP enforcement environments.
In 2018 International Intellectual Property Index, India was ranked 44 out of 50 countries.
The increase in India's ranking is a result of specific reforms that better align India's IP environment with the international IP system, including its accession to the WIPO Internet Treaties, the agreement to initiate a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with Japan, a dedicated set of IP incentives for small business, and administrative reforms to address the patent backlog, said the report.
In the first edition of the report in 2014, which is prepared by Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of the US Chambers of Commerce, India had ranked last in the ranking of 25 countries.
In 2017, India ranked 43 out of 45 countries.
In the last two years, US Chambers of Commerce has increased its comparative study to 50 economies, contributing over 90 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product.
The US tops the list of 50 global economies with 42.66 points out of 45, followed by the United Kingdom (42.22), Sweden (41.03) and Germany (41.00).
China is ranked 25th with 21.45 points and India has jumped eight position to be ranked 36 with 16.22 points.
Neighbouring Pakistan is at 47th spot with 12 points and Venezuela is at the last place with 7.11 points.
Among major global economies, the report said, the "most substantial movement can be seen from India, which has surged almost 20 per cent" and climbed eight places in the IP Index rankings from 44th to 36th.
"India has taken several noteworthy steps to improve its IP system in 2018 and also performed well on the new indicators included in the Index this year," the report said.
Substantial challenges persist, particularly regarding India's patenting and IP enforcement environments, it added.
"Nevertheless, this improvement is a real accomplishment, and Indian policymakers should be congratulated on their successful efforts in 2018," said the Global Innovation Policy Center.
India it said has seen a remarkable increase from the 5th edition to the 7th edition of the Index, rising from 25 per cent of the available score to over 36 per cent in the 7th edition, it said.
Noting that the past few years has seen the Government of India take steps to improve its national IP environment, the report said these efforts continued in 2018 and progress has been made on several important areas measured by the Index.
Of note are greater efforts to align and incorporate India's IP environment with the international IP system.
The September 2018 accession to the WIPO Internet Treaties and subsequent agreement with the Japanese Patent Office on a pilot PPH both stand out, it said.
The Index captures these positive and concrete steps taken.
India also invested considerable energy into decreasing pendency rates for patent and trademark applications, it said adding that more staff have been hired and resources invested into modernising and improving the administrative capacities of the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM).
In August 2018, the Indian Government announced that the application backlog had been reduced.
For patents, this meant a significant decrease from over 200,000 pending applications in March 2017 to just over 155,000 applications by end of June 2018.
For trademarks, a backlog of over 450,000 applications remained.
"When innovators succeed, countries succeed. Governments with strong IP systems foster greater innovation and creativity and position themselves to better compete at the highest levels for global investment, talent, and growth," said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the GIPC.
"Likewise, the countries that weakened on IP protection should reverse course.
We encourage policymakers around the world to use this report as a roadmap to improve their IP standards in order to reap the economic rewards that effective IP systems provide," he said.