Intellectual Property Rights (concepts, types, purpose, prospects)

Intellectual property (IP) refers to the creations of the human mind like inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images and designs used in commerce. Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs. Intellectual property rights protect the interests of creators by giving them property rights over their creations.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest.

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation as applied to nationals of other WTO Members.

For India, the WTO’s TRIPs agreement became binding from 2005 onwards as the country has got a ten-year transition period (1995-2005) to make the domestic legislation compatible with TRIPs.

Under the TRIPS Agreement, the areas of intellectual property that it covers are:

(i) Copyright and related rights (i.e. the rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organisations);
(ii) Trade marks including service marks;
(iii) Geographical indications including appellations of origin;
(iv) Industrial designs;
(v) Patents including protection of new varieties of plants;
(vi) The lay-out designs (topographies) of integrated circuits;
(vii) The undisclosed information including trade secrets and test data.

Legislations which governs Intelectual rights in India are:-

  • Copyright Act, 1957
  • Patents Act, 1970
  • Trade Mark Act, 1999
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection ) Act, 1999
  • The Designs Act, 2000