India and a group of four European nations, including Switzerland, have broken off trade talks over a failure to resolve differences involving India's protections for intellectual property rights, particularly pharmaceuticals.
A Swiss negotiator said she had little hope for a settlement of the issue anytime soon, but its spokeswoman for the talks presented a bit rosier picture, that the talks would resume soon. The other nations in the European Free Trade Association conducting the negotiations are Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Swiss-based drugmakers may be partly responsible for their tough stance on India's IPR protections involving brands and not just patents. Another stumbling block, according to a negotiator, involved data security.
The same official said the talks achieved progress in other areas, but she said the broad IPR issue had little chance of being resolved soon. One hope was that a scheduled India visit by Switzerland's economics minister in about 10 days would help bring about a thaw.
The Swiss also may be bristling over the 2012 India Supreme Court ruling against a Novartis ($NVS) attempt to hold onto its patent for its cancer drug Glivec/Gleevec (imatinib).