DS: India — Patent Protection for Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Chemical Products

This summary has been prepared by the Secretariat under its own responsibility. The summary is for general information only and is not intended to affect the rights and obligations of Members.


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Summary of the dispute to date

The summary below was up-to-date at


Complaint by the European Communities.

On 28 April 1997, the EC requested consultations with India in respect of the alleged absence in India of patent protection for pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical products, and the absence of formal systems that permit the filing of patent applications of and provide exclusive marketing rights for such products. The EC contended that this is inconsistent with India’s obligations under Article 70, paragraphs 8 and 9, of the TRIPS Agreement (see similar US complaint in WT/DS50, where the Panel and Appellate Body reports were adopted on 16 January 1998).

On 9 September 1997, the EC requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 25 September 1997, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.


Panel and Appellate Body proceedings

Further to a second request to establish a panel by the EC, the DSB established a panel at its meeting on 16 October 1997. The US reserved its third-party rights. The report of the Panel was circulated to Members on 24 August 1998. The Panel found that India has not complied with its obligations under Article 70.8(a) of the TRIPS Agreement by failing to establish a legal basis that adequately preserves novelty and priority in respect of applications for product patents for pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical inventions, and was also not in compliance with Article 70.9 of the TRIPS Agreement by failing to establish a system for the grant of exclusive marketing rights. At its meeting on 22 September 1998, the DSB adopted the Panel Report.


Implementation of adopted reports

India indicated at the DSB meeting of 21 October 1998, that it needed a reasonable period of time to comply with the DSB recommendations and that it intended to have bilateral consultations with the EC to agree on a mutually acceptable period of time. At the DSB meeting on 25 November 1998, India read out a joint statement done with the EC, in which it was agreed that the implementation period in this dispute would correspond to the implementation period in a similar dispute brought by the US (DS50).

At the DSB meeting on 28 April 1999, India presented its final status report on implementation of DS50, which also applies to implementation in this dispute. The report disclosed the enactment of the relevant legislation to implement the recommendations and rulings of the DSB.


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