Intellectual Property Rights

intellectual property rights

What are Intellectual Property Rights(IPR)?

IPR is a general term covering patents, copyright, trademark, industrial designs, geographical indications, layout designs of integrated circuits, undisclosed information (trade secrets) and protection of new plant varieties also known as Farmer’s Protection Right.

What are the different forms of Intellectual Property Rights in India?

  1.  Patent: A patent is a form of right granted by the government to an inventor, giving the owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, and importing an invention for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention.

Law: The Patents Act, 1970 as amended in 1999, 2002 and 2005

Example: “He took out a patent for an improved steam hammer”

  1.   Copyright: A copyright gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. Copyright may apply to a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms, or “works”. Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed.

Law: The Copyright Act, 1957 as amended in 1983, 1984 and 1992, 1994, 1999

Example: “He issued a writ for breach of copyright”

  1.  Trademark: A trademark is a recognizable sign, design or expression which distinguishes products or services of a particular trader from the similar products or services of other traders.

Law: The Trade Marks Act, 1999

Example: ” Trademarks such as Coca Cola, HP, Canon, Nike and Adidas serve as an indication of their respective brands/logo”

  1.    Industrial Design: An industrial design right (sometimes called “design right” or design patent) protects the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian. An industrial design consists of the creation of a shape, configuration or composition of pattern or color, or combination of pattern and colour in three-dimensional form containing aesthetic value. An industrial design can be a two- or three-dimensional pattern used to produce a product, industrial commodity or handicraft.

Law: The Designs Act, 2000

Example: “The work done by accountants, engineers or architects.”

  1.    Geographical Indications: Geographical Indications are indications that identify a good as “originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.

Law: The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999

Example: ” The milk must come exclusively from the Montbéliarde and French Simmental breeds,”

  1.   Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits: An Act to provide for the protection of semiconductor integrated circuits layout-designs and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Law: The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000

Example: ” Screws, is dictated purely by the function which the screw is intended to perform, it would not generally be eligible to be protected as an industrial design.”

  1. Protection of Undisclosed Information: Undisclosed information refers to information which is secret and has commercial value because it is secret. Undisclosed information, or ‘trade secrets’, is protected in the TRIPs Agreement under the framework or discipline of unfair competition.

Law: No exclusive legislation exists but the matter would be generally covered under the Contract Act, 1872

Example: ” Coca-Cola’s formula for its aerated drinks and KFC’s recipe for its delicious fried chicken are considered to be trade secrets”

  1.    Plant Varieties: Plant breeders’ rights (PBR), also known as plant variety rights (PVR), are rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant that give the breeder exclusive control over the propagating material (including seed, cuttings, divisions, tissue culture) and harvested material (cut flowers, fruit, foliage) of a new variety for a number of years.

Law: The Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001

Example: ” While bushwalking, Barney discovers a plant which nobody has ever previously seen or documented before. Can Barney obtain a patent for the plant? No. Barney cannot patent the plant as it is natural source material and is not novel”

What is the difference between a trademark, copyright and a patent?

A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. A patent protects an invention.


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