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India needs to update its patent and copyright laws with modern regulatory framework to attract more foreign capital, US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Franklin L. Lavin said here Monday.’Patent and copyright laws in India are old and backdated and they nowhere match the world standards,’ Lavin, who is leading the largest-ever business delegation from the US, told a seminar on India-US trade.

In a related development, following the rejection of a patent application for one of its medicines, Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has taken the “unprecedented action” of challenging India’s patent law in a high court, arguing that it is unconstitutional as well as in breach of international trade law, it said.

“The filing of writ petitions with the Indian High Court demonstrates Novartis’ strong commitment to defending international intellectual property standards and its right to obtain patents for its innovative compounds under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS),” a Novartis press officer told Intellectual Property Watch.

It is a “question of principle,” Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella told Intellectual Property Watch, adding that “we would undermine the whole system” if the company gave in.

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