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Indian Inflow: The Interplay of Foreign Investment and Intellectual Property

Anup Tikku
Third World Quarterly
Vol. 19, No. 1 (Mar., 1998), pp. 87-113
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3993115
Page Count: 27
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Indian Inflow: The Interplay of Foreign Investment and Intellectual Property
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Abstract

There remains no doubt in the minds of investors that India must be in their future. As one of the few untapped markets, with its ever exploding consumer base, its highly and technically skilled workforce, and its low standard of living, much opportunity awaits those willing to bear burdens and overcome hurdles. Along with these opportunities comes weak intellectual property laws and political bureaucracy second to none. The debate rages on whether India must immediately update its intellectual property laws to ensure the inflow of foreign investment and its accompanying development. Relentless pressure on the part of industrialised nations may occasion India to forgo the mutually agreed upon year 2005 deadline negotiated into the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property. However, it remains unclear whether the Western basis behind intellectual property laws is valid for India, or even whether India's lax laws affect foreign investment to any significant extent. The author sets out the progression of these laws; in terms of cultural, political and socio-economic factors, brings out the ultimate concern--what is in the best interests of India and Indians, sets out the changes that are currently underway in terms of legislation, and finally discusses whether the intellectual property laws really are a major determinant in decisions to invest in India. He concludes that India's intellectual property laws are at best a minor factor in the decision making process and have had an insignificant effect on the actual flow of foreign investment into India. As such, the author urges for the gradual implementation of more stringent intellectual property laws, consistent with TRIPS, to attenuate to the year 2005.

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