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Intellectual property rights are like any other property right. Its allows its creators, or owners, of patents, trademarks or copyrighted material to profit from their work or investment. These rights are described in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, Article 27. These rights provide for the right to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests/benefits resulting from authorship of scientific, literary or artistic productions.

1. What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is a property that is created by the mind. It is a property that is not physically tangible but nonetheless is protected by law. Creations of mind are inventions, artistic or literary creations, names, symbol, images etc. intellectual property is divided into two kinds:

  • Industrial Property:

Intellectual property that falls under this category include patents, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs etc.

  • Copyright:

Rights relating to copyrights cover artistic and literary creations. This includes novels, textbooks, songs, photographs, movies etc.

Intellectual property and its importance were first recognised in 1883 in the PARIS CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY, followed by  THE BERN CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF LITERARY AND ARTISTIC WORKS  in 1886.

2. Types of intellectual property

There are five types of intellectual properties.

  • Copyright:

Copyright is the right a person has over a literary or artistic creation. The right protects the property from being exploited by others without the consent of the creator. Copyright protects films, novels, computer programs, music compositions etc.

  • Industrial Designs:

Industrial designs are mainly ornamental in nature, they may be in a two dimensional or three-dimensional form. The value of these designs is more aesthetic than practical in most cases. Therefore to be protected under law it must be non-functional and more ornamental in nature. The articles that make the product more appealing and attractive.

  • Geographical Indication:

Geographical indications are signs that are used on products to show their particular geographical origin. This is to convey the quality or the reputation of the product due to its place of origin. The main industry that uses geographical indications is the agricultural industry. Such as tea from Darjeeling or green apples from Kashmir. They convey the quality of the product due to its origin. It is considered an intellectual property that is protected so as to stop misrepresentation by commercial operators.

  • Patent:

A patent is an exclusive right awarded to an invention. This invention may be a new product or new process for doing something. It can also be a technical solution to something. Such patent protection is given for a limited period of 20 years to the holder of the patent. A patent protects the inventor from the exploitation of his invention by third parties, it protects the monetary interest of the inventor.

  • Trademark:

A trademark is a unique sign that certain goods or services were provided by a particular company or individual. The concept of a trademark came to be long ago where artists and craftsmen left unique marks or signatures to their product. In today’s system, the trademark has to be registered for it to be protected by law. Such protection ensures that the owners of the trademark have to exclusive right to use them to identify their goods or service. Like the period of imitation upon patents, the protection awarded to the trademark also has a limitation period. Such a period may vary, but the difference between patents and trademark in this aspect is that trademarks may be renewed an indefinite number of times.

3. Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property is an intangible property that are creations of the mind. To protect this property certain rights are awarded to the creator to protect his property. These rights are known as intellectual property rights.  Currently, Indian legislation has passed Acts to protect the intellectual property of individuals and companies.

  • Copyright Act, 1957.

This Act governs the copyright law in India and its origin can be traced back to the era of British colonial rule. It was the first post-independence copyright legislation in India. In its duration the Copyright Act, 1957 has been amended six times, most recently in 2012.

  • The Patent Act, 1978:

The Patent Act, 1970 along with the Patent Rules 1972, came into effect in 1972. It replaced the pre-independence legislation of Indian Patents and Design Act, 1911. The Patent Act was passed mainly due to the recommendations of the Ayyangar Committee report. Furthermore, India has become a signatory to international agreements and has brought its laws to modern standards.

  • Trademark Act, 1999:

The protection of trademarks in India is under the governance of the Trademark Act, 1999. It deals with the process of registration and protection of trademarks. The law also provides for the transfer of such rights, the infringement of such rights as well as the punishment for such infringements. Before the passing of the Act, the trademark law was based on the common law of equity-based on English law. After becoming a member of TRIPS the 1999 Act was passed to meet the compliance of its regulations.

  • Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999:

India is a member of the World Trade Organisation passed the Act for the protection of GI’s and its usage. The Act came into force in 2003.

Intellectual property and the rights that protect them are important for the practice of fair and transparent commercial practices. Intellectual property is a recognisable asset much like physical property. The need to have them protected by law to ensure that such property is not stolen and misused is paramount for encouraging inventors and creators.

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