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Intellectual Property Rights and Laws in India

Updated: Apr 14

Intellectual Property is rights that are conferred to the owner to protect his works which can be Trademarks, Brand Identity, Copyright of his work, Design, Patent, and others from misuse by another party. In India Intellectual Property rights are recognized under the below-mentioned acts,

The Patents Act, 1970, The Trade Marks Act, 1999, The Copyright Act, 1957, The Designs Act, 2000, The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protectionnefarious) Act, 1999, The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000, The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001.

From a business perspective, it is very essential to ensure that your business assets are protected through the IPR, as this will help in protecting the exclusive rights of your business and also help in taking legal remedy in case your competitors are misusing your business assets for nefarious activities.

  • Trademark Act 1999; The act deals with providing registration and protection of trademarks for goods and services. Trademark means a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from another and may include the shape of goods, their packaging, and a combination of colors. In short, a brand logo, name, symbol, figure, letter, word, website domain. As marks are protected, any misuse by another party can lead to legal action and penalty. Under Trademark Act 1999, an individual can register their marks for up to 10 years and again renew them post the time period.

  • Patents Act 1970; The act deals with the registration of patents and new inventions. The invention should be either related to a product or process that is new, involving inventive steps, and capable of industrial application. Also, the new invention should hadn't been published in any document or used in the country or elsewhere in the world before the date of filing of the patent application. Patents that are frivolous in nature, which can cause harm to the society at large, inventions related to atomic nature, a method for agriculture, horticulture, and others aren't patentable in India, Apart from this, there are other areas mentioned in Sec 3 of the act. The term of every patent granted is 20 years from the date of filing of the application. However, in the case of applications filed under the Patent Cooperative Treaty (PCT), the term of twenty years begins from the priority date.

  • Copyright Act 1957; The act deals with protecting works which are original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, cinematograph films, and sound recordings. The copyright grants the creator exclusive rights over his work and he can prohibit anymore from usage or amendment without his consent. All the copyright works need to have the author's name and require his consent for making any amends even after he sold his rights to another party these are known as moral rights. As the creator of work, he/she can prohibit or authorize anyone to reproduce the work in any form, such as print, sound, video. Use the work for a public performance, as part of a play or a musical work. Make copies/recordings of the work, such as via compact discs, cassettes. Broadcast it in various forms and translate the same to other languages. The general rule is that copyright lasts for 60 years. In the case of original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works the 60-year period is counted from the year following the death of the author. In the case of cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publications, works of government, and works of international organizations, the 60-year period is counted from the date of publication.

  • Design Act 2000; The act deals with protecting design. “Design” means features of shape, pattern, configuration, ornament or composition of colors or lines which is applied in three dimensional or two dimensional or in both the forms using any of the processes whether manual, chemical, mechanical, separate or combined which in the finished article appeal to or judged wholly by the eye. Artistic work which is defined in Sec 2(c) of the Copyright Act such as a painting, sculpture, drawing, photograph, work of architecture, work of artistic craftsmanship doesn't come under the definition of design under the act. After the registration of a design, the period of the registration of the design is initially 10 from the date of registration. The initial period of registration may be extended by a further period of 5 years, by making an application to the controller, but the application should be submitted before the expiry of 10 years.

Apart from the above discussed, other Acts which deal with Intellectual Protection rights are The Geographical Indications of Goods Act, 1999, The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000, The Biological Diversity Act, 2002, and The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001.

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