T e past few years have seen major economic and legislative changes following India’s accession to the World Trade Organization. T e opening of the Indian economy and, in particular, the major role India is playing in the knowledge economy, have brought intellectual property (IP) issues to the forefront. T is, coupled with GDP growth of more than 8 percent in the last two years, has attracted increasing foreign direct investment to cater to the burgeoning middle class.
Understanding the market
India has a population of more than 1 billion across 28 states. Twenty-two diff erent languages are spoken, and several hundred dialects. T us it is important for IP owners to understand and appreciate the diversity of India when entering the market. In many cases, products have to employ local strategies. Localisation of global brands in India is an important issue when it comes to the acceptance of well-known western brands by the Indian consumer. On the surface, given that English is widely spoken, it seems that global brands should be easily accepted. However, the reality is that each state in India has a diff erent history, language and culture, making it diffi cult for brand owners to devise a strategy that fi ts everyone. Poor infrastructure makes it challenging for IP owners to distribute products, and added to this complexity is the fact that in India the old and the modern worlds exist side by side.
Battling resilient counterfeiters
Unlike in China, where IP owners may find large factories producing counterfeit or infringing products, in India you are likely to find a huge number of small and medium- sized industries that collectively have a big impact. The problem of counterfeiting in India varies from sophisticated operations
World Intellectual Property Review January/February 2012 2
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