Intellectual Property Rights- An Overview.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are essentially the simulators of creative activity in the society, which generate wealth and enhance the welfare of the society.The benefits of intellectual property rights can be received by setting up a favorable legal, regulatory, policy frameworks, a national IP strategy , an efficient law enforcement and academics to the importance of IP.

Intellectual Property Rights can be defines as the legal rights conferred upon a person as a result of his intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. These rights promote creativity, innovation and technology, thus, promoting fair-trading, which contributes to economic and social development.

Intellectual Property (IP) covers the following:
(1) Patents.
(2) Trademarks.
(3) Industrial Design.
(4) Geographical Indications.
(5) Copyright and Related rights.

The IPR regime in India is governed through the following laws:
>The Patents Act, 1970 (amended thrice in 1999, 2002 and 2005)
>The Copyright Act, 1957
>the Trade Marks Act, 1999
>The Designs Act, 2000
>The Geographical Indications of Goods ( Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
>The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000
>Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmer’s Rights Act, 2001
>The Biological Diversity Act, 2002

Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs and geographical Indications are regulated by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry through the office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM). The Ministry of Human Resource and Development look after the Copyrights. The Ministry of Agriculture handles the regulation of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’Rights.The Ministry of Information Technology looks after the Information Technology Act and the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Designs Act.Biological Diversity Act is under the Ministry of environment and Forests.Besides, The Ministry of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology have established organisations like TIFAC and NISCAIR for the development and protection of IP.

IPR enactments in India

A patent is an exclusive right granted by a country to the owner of an invention to stop others from making, using, selling, importing or offering to sale his present invention. It is a property right and hence, can be gifted, inherited, assigned, sold or licensed. The patent right is territorial in nature, thus, inventors/their assignees will have to prosecute patent application in countries of their interest for obtaining patents in those countries.

The Patents Act has a long history which can be traced back to the First Act – The Indian Patents and Designs Act, 1911. Since then the act has undergone substantial changes in the form of amendments in accordance with the political and economic changes India had been undergoing. The following are the list of the Acts that were passed:
>The Indian Patents and Designs Act, 1911
>The Patents Bill, 1953
>The Patents Bill, 1965
>The Patents Act, 1970 (39 of 1970)
>The Repealing and amending Act, 1974 (56 of 1974)
>The delegated Legislation Provisions (Amendment) Act, 1985 (4 of 1986)
>The Patents (Amendment) Act, 1999.

A trademark is a distinctive sign, which identifies certain goods, or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise.A “mark” as per the Indian Trademarks Act may consist of a word, signature, device, letter, numeral, brand, heading, label, drawings, symbols, three-dimensional signs, shapes and packaging of goods, or colours used as distinguishing feature. The History of Trade Marks Act can be traced back to the First Act being the Trade Marks Act, (Act 5 of 1940) which was then applicable to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Pakistan retained the provisions till 1948. Apart from the above Countries the British Indian States in India like Mysore, Patiala, Hyderabad, etc , however with a reciprocal arrangement with the then Government retained and effected the Legislation. Following is the list of Acts that were passed:
>The Trade Marks Act (Act 5 of 1940)
>The Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958
>The Trade Marks Act, 1999 (47 of 1999)

Copyright is a legal protection extended to the owner for the work that he/she has created. It comprises of two main sets of rights : economic rights and moral rights. Economic rights include the right of reproduction, broadcasting, public performance, adaptation, translation, public relation, public distribution etc. Moral rights include the author’s right to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of his work that might be prejudicial to his honor and reputation.

The Origin of Copy right Act in India, can be traced during the British reign in the Country. The Copy right law that was applied in the British Courts was applied in India also. The First enactment of Copyright law was in the year 1709 in England. However it was only the 1842 Copy Right Act that was made applicable to India. This was repealed by the Copy Right Act of 1911 and later amended by the 1914 Act. The present Act is the result of various amendments to the Copy Right Act. Following is the lists of acts that were passed:
>The Copy Right Act of 1842
>The Copy right Act of 1911
>Indian Copy Right Act, 1957 (the 1957 Act)
>The Copy Right (amendment) Act, 1999.

An industrial design right is an intellectual property right that 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 color 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.

India’s Design Act, 2000 was enacted to consolidate and amend the law relating to protection of design and to comply with the TRIPS agreement. The new act, (earlier Patent and Design Act, 1911 was repealed by this act) now defines “design” to mean only the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament, or composition of lines or colours applied to any article, whether in two or three dimensional, or in both forms, by any industrial process or means, whether manual or mechanical or chemical, separate or combined, which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eye; but does not include any mode or principle of construction.

Layout designs (topographies) of integrated circuits are a field in the protection of intellectual property. IC layout designs are usually the result of an enormous investment, both in terms of the time of highly qualified experts, and financially. The possibility of copying by photographing each layer of an integrated circuit and preparing masks for its production on the basis of the photographs obtained is the main reason for the introduction of legislation for the protection of layout-designs.

The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act 2000 provides for protection of Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Government of India has established Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Registry (SICLDR) as the office for filings of application for Semiconductor IC Layout Design Registration.

The Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act, 2001 (PPVFR Act) was enacted by the Parliament of India to provide for the establishment of an effective system for protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders, and to encourage the development and cultivation of new varieties of plants. This act received the assent of the President of India on the October 30, 2001. According to law, “breeder” means a person or group of persons or a farmer or group of farmers or any institution which has “bred, evolved or developed any variety.and “farmers” means any person who – “Cultivates crops by cultivating the land himself; or “Cultivates crops by directly supervising the cultivation or land through any other person; or conserves and preserves, severally or jointly, with any other person any wild species or traditional varieties”; or “Adds value to such wild species or traditional varieties through selection and identification of their useful properties.”

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 is a legislation enacted by the Parliament of India for preservation of biological diversity in India, and provides mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out of use of traditional biological resources and knowledge. The Act was enacted to meet the obligations under Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which India is a party. The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)is a statutory autonomous body, headquartered in Chennai, under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India established in 2003 to implement the provisions under the Act. State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) has been created in 28 States along with 31,574 Biological management committees (for each local body) across India.


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