11 March 1999
India toes line on agrochem patents

INDIA yesterday fell in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rulings by amending its patents legislation to allow exclusive marketing rights for agrochemical and pharmaceutical products.

The move is an interim measure which is expected eventually to mean the eventual introduction of product patents.

The amendment permits pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies to the sole rights to market in India products they have patented.

The amendment meets an earlier commitment to the WTO to accelerate moves towards the introduction of product patents in these sectors, which had enjoyed patent protection only for manufacturing processes – spawning widespread local copying of patented drugs and related products.

India plans to introduce full product patents by 2005.