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Intellectual Property Rights: A Brief Introduction

Intellectual Property Rights: A Detailed Inlook

Intellectual property is an intangible thing crafted by the intellect of a person. The intellectual property right is the right to ownership of property which is not tangible and is the result of one's intellect.

Types Of Intellectual Property Rights

The subject of intellectual property is very broad. Many different forms of rights together make up intellectual property. IP can be divided into two categories, that is, industrial Property and intellectual property. Traditionally, many IPRs were collectively known as industrial assets.

The following are the kinds of IPR:
  • Copyright

    Copyright simply means the right to copy. It is a legal right possessed by the owner of an intellectual property. Only the creator or his authorized person has the right to reproduce a work. Copyright law deals with the protection against exploitation of the expression of ideas in a tangible form.

    Copyright acknowledges both the economic and moral rights of the owner. The right to copyright is, by the principle of fair use, a privilege for others, without the copyright owner's permission to use copyrighted material. By the application of the doctrine of fair use, the law of copyright balances private and public interests.

    This protects creative works like books, music, movies, and art. It gives the creator the right to control how their work is used, like making copies or showing it to others.
  • Patent

    Patents are for new inventions or ideas that are useful and not obvious. They give the inventor the exclusive right to make, use, and sell their invention for a certain period. It is the exclusive right of a person to derive commercial benefits from his invention

    The purpose of patent law is to encourage scientific research, new technology, and industrial progress. The economic value of patent information is that it provides technical information to the industry that can be used for commercial purposes. If there is no protection, then there may be enough incentive to take a free ride at another person's investment. This ability of free-riding reduces the incentive to invent something new because the inventor may not feel motivated to invent due to a lack of incentives.
  • Trademark

    Trademarks protect symbols, words, or phrases that help us recognize products or services. Think of logos like the Nike swoosh or the Apple logo � they help us know which company made something.

    A trademark is a badge of origin. It is a specific sign used to make the source of goods and services public about goods and services and to distinguish goods and services from other entities. This establishes a link between the proprietor and the product. It portrays the nature and quality of a product. The essential function of a trademark is to indicate the origin of the goods to which it is attached or about which it is used. It identifies the product, guarantees quality, and helps advertise the product. The trademark is also the objective symbol of goodwill that a business has created.
  • Geographical Indication

    This is about products that have a special quality or reputation because they come from a certain place. Think of things like Champagne or Parmesan cheese. It is an indication that a particular set of goods originated from a specific geographical locality.

    In Imperial Tobacco v Registrar, it was viewed that geographical indications have been defined to mean "indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a particular nation, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin".
  • Industrial Design

    Industrial design protection focuses on the visual appearance of a product, such as its shape, color, texture, and ornamentation. It prevents others from copying or imitating the aesthetic features of a product. Industrial design rights encourage creativity in product design and can cover a wide range of items, from furniture and fashion to electronics and packaging.
  • Trade Secret

    A trade secret is valuable and confidential business information that provides a competitive advantage. It can include formulas, recipes, manufacturing processes, customer lists, and marketing strategies. Unlike other types of IPR, trade secrets are not publicly disclosed and are protected as long as they remain secret. Companies use measures like contracts and security protocols to safeguard their trade secrets.

History Of Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property can be defined creative work of human intellect. Though there is no official record of the origin of IP, it is believed that a rudimentary form of IP was being practised around 500 Before the Common Era (BCE) in Sybaris, a state of Greece. The natives of Sybaris were granted a year's protection for using their intellect to create ―any new improvement in luxury. A practical and pragmatic approach to IP governance started taking shape in medieval Europe.

In 1623, Britain passed an Intellectual Property Legislation which entitled guilds (associations of artisans or merchants) to create innovations and bring them to market for trade purposes. However, this legislation brought a lot of resentment amongst the public and thus was replaced by the 'Statute of Monopolies ', which gave the rights to the original creator/inventor for 14 years. Another legislation, the 'Statute of Anne ', was passed by the British parliament in 1710.

This legislation aimed at strengthening copyrights by providing rights to the authors for recreation and distribution of their work. The work could also be renewed for another 14 years. By the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, almost every country started laying down IP legislation to protect their novel inventions and creations.

Global History Of IPR

The mention of intellectual property rights in an implied manner was mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Article 27 mentioned the right to "share in scientific advancements and its benefits".

Paris Convention for Protection of Individual Property (1883) took place in response to failure of an exhibition organised in the year 1873, as the participants hesitated to participation as they were insecure about their intellectual property rights.

This convention laid various guidelines for states to accept for fair and just environment of inventions. It was mostly aimed at Patent.

Complimentary to the Paris Convention, took place the Patent Cooperation Treaty (1970), which established international regulations regarding Patent.

Berne Convention for The Protection of Literary & Artistic Works (1886) took regarding the subject matter of Copyright. It is the oldest treaty on copyright. This convention was aimed at protecting the rights of authors for their literary and artistic works.

Universal Copyright Convention (1952) was an alternative made by UNESCO for states who didn't agree with the Berne Convention but still wanted to be a part of multilateral copyright treaty.

Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (1891) introduced a system for obtaining a bundle of Trademark registration in separate jurisdictions. This treaty along with the 1989 Protocol forms the international system of recognition of marks.

Rome Convention (1961) was the first time where neighbouring rights were dealt with.

Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) came into force on 1st January 1995. It includes most of Berne Convention Rules. It was formed and administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

History Of IPR In India

Ramayana was written centuries ago. However, the holy book still holds its value in the current modern world. Maharishi Valmiki is still accredited for his work. Lord Vishwakarma is applauded for his architectural works even today. That is how recognition of makers of something intellectual lays the foundation of confidence in the upcoming generations.

For the first time in 1856, the Indian Patents Act came into force which introduced IPR in India during British reign. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) was established on July 14, 1967. India became a member of WIPO in 1975. The treaty requires India's compliance with the international rules and regulations surrounding IPR.

Laws Related To Intellectual Property Rights In India

The Following Statutes Have Been Enacted With The View To Bring In Regulations Regarding Intellectual Property Rights In India:
  • Patents Act, 1970 (most recent being the Patent Amendment Act, 2005)
  • Trade Mark Act, 1999 (most recent being the amendment by the Finance Act of 2017)
  • The Designs Act, 2000
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
  • Copyright Act, 1957 (most recent being amended in the year 1999)
  • The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001
  • The Semi-Conductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000

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