Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are crucial to protect the creations of the mind. Read here to know more about IPR, its rules, regulations, and pros, and cons.
Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period.
These are defined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides for the right to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests resulting from authorship of scientific, literary, or artistic productions.
The importance of intellectual property was first recognized in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886). Both treaties are administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
What is intellectual property?
Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; symbols, names, and images used in commerce.
IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright, and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.
Types of Intellectual Property Rights:
Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and technical drawings.
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. Generally speaking, a patent provides the patent owner with the right to decide how – or whether – the invention can be used by others. In exchange for this right, the patent owner makes technical information about the invention publicly available in the published patent document.
The following cannot be patented:
- Frivolous Invention: Invention that harms public order/Morality/ health of animals, plants & humans
- Methods of agriculture or horticulture
- Traditional Knowledge
- Computer Program
- Inventions related to Atomic Energy
- Plants & Animals
- Mere discovery of the scientific principle
A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks date back to ancient times when artisans used to put their signature or “mark” on their products.
An industrial design constitutes the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. A design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines, or color. Industrial property can usefully be divided into two main areas:
One area can be characterized as the protection of distinctive signs, in particular trademarks (which distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings) and geographical indications (which identify a good as originating in a place where a given characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin).
- The protection of such distinctive signs aims to stimulate and ensure fair competition and to protect consumers, by enabling them to make informed choices between various goods and services. The protection may last indefinitely, provided they sign in question continues to be distinctive
Other types of industrial property are protected primarily to stimulate innovation, design, and the creation of technology. In this category fall invention (protected by patents), industrial designs, and trade secrets.
- The social purpose is to protect the results of investment in the development of new technology, thus giving the incentive and means to finance research and development activities.
- A functioning intellectual property regime should also facilitate the transfer of technology in the form of foreign direct investment, joint ventures, and licensing.
- The protection is usually given for a finite term (typically 20 years in the case of patents).
Geographical indications and appellations of origin are signs used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, a reputation, or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of origin. Most commonly, a geographical indication includes the name of the place of origin of the goods.
Trade secrets are IP rights on confidential information which may be sold or licensed. The unauthorized acquisition, use, or disclosure of such secret information in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices by others is regarded as an unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret protection.
Also read: Evergreening of Patents
World Intellectual Property day
On April 26 every year we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day to promote discussion of the role of IP in encouraging innovation and creativity.
This year, World Intellectual Property Day 2022’s theme focuses on IP and Youth innovating for a Better Future. It explores how these innovative, energetic, and creative minds are driving positive change.
India and Intellectual Property Rights
Acts Dealing with Intellectual Property Rights in India:
- The Copyright Act, 1957
- The Patents Act, 1970
- The Trade Marks Act, 1999
- The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
India adopted the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy as a vision document to guide the future development of IPRs in the country.
- The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce has been appointed as the nodal department to coordinate, guide, and oversee the implementation and future development of IPRs in India.
- The ‘Cell for IPR Promotion & Management (CIPAM)’, set up under DIPP, is to be the single point of reference for the implementation of the objectives of the National IPR Policy.
The campaign ‘KAPILA’, which stands for Kalam Program for Intellectual Property Literacy and Awareness campaign, was launched on 15th October 2020. The day was launched in honor of the 89th birth anniversary of former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
India is a member of the World trade organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Agreement.
India is also a member of the following important WIPO-administered International Treaties and Conventions relating to IPRs.
- Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for Patent Procedure
- Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
- Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization
- Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
- Patent Cooperation Treaty
- Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks- Madrid Protocol
- Washington Treaty on Intellectual Property in respect of Integrated Circuits
- Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol
- Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
- Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities.
Drawbacks of the Indian IPR system
Evergreening of Patents:
- Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act 1970 (as amended in 2005)does not allow patents to be granted to inventions involving new forms of a known substance unless it differs significantly in properties about efficacy.
- This means that the Indian Patent Act does not allow the evergreening of patents. The pharma companies have been facing problems due to this.
- Compulsory licensing is problematic for foreign investors who bring technology as they are concerned about the misuse of CL to replicate their products. It has been impacting India-EU FTA negotiations.
- It is the grant of permission by the government to entities to use, manufacture, import, or sell a patented invention without the patent owner’s consent. Patents Act in India deals with CL.
- It is permitted under the WTO’s TRIPS (IPR) Agreement provided conditions such as ‘national emergencies, other circumstances of extreme urgency and anti-competitive practices’ are fulfilled.
- Foreign investors complain that the Indian law does not contain the unfair commercial use of test data submitted to the government during the application for market approval.
- A data exclusivity law is being demanded from the Indian side.
Advantages And Disadvantages of Intellectual Property Rights
Advantages of IPR:
- Safeguards creators rights
- Promotes innovation and creativity
- Facilitates ease of doing business
- Enhances economic value
- Expands the export regime
Disadvantages of IPR
- Expensive for first IPR filing for nay process of the product.
- Pirating has still not stopped after IPR protection.
- Quality is compromised with the aging of IPR.
- IPR was considered a hindrance during the COVID-19 vaccine distribution system initially as IPR restrictions made low and middle-income countries unable to manufacture vaccines domestically.
Intellectual Property rights are a very important aspect of any kind of research and development and creativity hence the future generation should be made aware of them from the school level itself.
The current issues with IPR regulations should be addressed so that India can take full advantage of the benefits of a strong IP system on a global scale.
IPR safeguards will help boost India’s Make in India and Atmanirbhar campaigns.