An overview : Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property RightsAashka Shah



What is Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

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 of time.[1]

Intellectual Property Rights are legal rights, which result from intellectual activity in industrial, scientific, literary & artistic fields. These rights Safeguard creators and other producers of intellectual goods & services by granting them certain time-limited rights to control their use. Protected IP rights like other property can be a matter of trade, which can be owned, sold or bought. These are intangible and non exhausted consumption.[2]


Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.[3]


Intellectual property, very broadly, means the legal rights which result from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. Countries have laws to protect intellectual property for two main reasons. One is to give statutory expression to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creations and the rights of the public in access to those creations. The second is to promote, as a deliberate act of Government policy, creativity and the dissemination and application of its results and to encourage fair trading which would contribute to economic and social development.[4]


Intellectual property Right (IPR) is a term used for various legal entitlements which attach to certain types of information, ideas, or other intangibles in their expressed form. The holder of this legal entitlement is generally entitled to exercise various exclusive rights in relation to the subject matter of the Intellectual Property. The term intellectual property reflects the idea that this subject matter is the product of the mind or the intellect, and that Intellectual Property rights may be protected at law in the same way as any other form of property. Intellectual property laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, such that the acquisition, registration or enforcement of IP rights must be pursued or obtained separately in each territory of interest.[5]


What is a property?[6]


Property designates those things that are commonly recognized as being the possessions of an individual or a group. A right of ownership is associated with property that establishes the good as being “one’s own thing” in relation to other individuals or groups, assuring the owner the right to dispense with the property in a manner he or she deems fit, whether to use or not use, exclude others from using, or to transfer ownership.


Properties are of two types – tangible property and intangible property i.e. one that is physically present and the other which is not in any physical form. Building, land, house, cash, jewellery are few examples of tangible properties which can be seen and felt physically. On the other hand there is a kind of valuable property that cannot be felt physically as it does not have a physical form. Intellectual property is one of the forms of intangible property which commands a material value which can also be higher than the value of a tangible asset or property.


Types of IPR

  • Trademark
  • Copyright
  • Patent
  • Design
  • Geographical Indication
  • Trade Secret (Confidential Know How)
  • Traditional Knowledge


Trade Mark[7]

A trade mark is a sign that you can use to distinguish your business’ goods or services from those of other traders.A trade mark can be represented graphically in the form of your company’s logo or a signature.

Through a registered trade mark, you can protect your brand (or “mark”) by restricting other people from using its name or logo.

Once acquired, a trade mark can last indefinitely as long as you renew it every 10 years. Because a registered trade mark is a form of IP, you can license or assign it to others.


Applies to literary and dramatic works, artistic and musical works, audio and video recordings, broadcasts and cable transmissions.

Copyright is also the usual way of protecting software, although some software may be patented if it is a functional part of an invention. Copyright arises automatically; it does not need to be applied for (but can be for register purposes); and lasts 70 years after the death of the author.



A Patent is a right granted to the owner of the patent to stop others from making, using or selling the invention that is the subject of the patent.

The monopoly granted to the patent owner can last for up to 20 years enabling the patent owner to recover costs associated with development and be rewarded financially for their efforts.  However, once the patent has lapsed, the public may use the invention described in the patent.



A design refers to the features of a shape, configuration, pattern or ornament applied to an article by any industrial process.[10]

A design registration protects the overall appearance of a product. Almost any type of manufactured product can be protected in this way and there are very few exceptions.

The scope of registered design protection is confined to the appearance of the product; it does not protect the design’s functionality when embodied in a product of different appearance. This means that if a design incorporates a new functional component that is not limited to its appearance, patent protection may be more appropriate.[11]


Geographical Indication

Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or country.[12]

For example, agricultural products typically have qualities that derive from their place of production and are influenced by specific local factors, such as climate and soil.


Trade Secret (Confidential Know How)

Broadly speaking, any confidential business information which provides an enterprise a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret. Trade secrets encompass manufacturing or industrial secrets and commercial secrets. The unauthorized use of such information by persons other than the holder is regarded as an unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret. Depending on the legal system, the protection of trade secrets forms part of the general concept of protection against unfair competition or is based on specific provisions or case law on the protection of confidential information.[13]

Trade Secret may include customer profile, marketing strategies, financial information, consumers , suppliers, etc.



Traditional Knowledge

Traditional knowledge (TK) is knowledge, know-how, skills and practices that are developed, sustained and passed on from generation to generation within a community, often forming part of its cultural or spiritual identity.[14]



Thus it is very important to give reorganization to the intellectual of a person and not only it is important to recognize them but also to give it a protection for the benefit of both i.e. the inventor or the creator and the society at large.
















[1] http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/intel1_e.htm

[2] http://www.dcmsme.gov.in/emerge/website_material_on_IPR.pdf

[3] http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/freepublications/en/intproperty/450/wipo_pub_450.pdf

[4] http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/about-ip/en/iprm/pdf/ch1.pdf

[5] http://www.caaa.in/Image/34_Hb_on_IPR.pdf

[6] http://www.caaa.in/Image/34_Hb_on_IPR.pdf

[7] http://www.ipos.gov.sg//AboutIP/TypesofIPWhatisIntellectualProperty/Whatisatrademark.aspx

[8] http://pasteur.crg.es/portal/page/portal/Internet/HIDE-Technolgy_Transfer/Tech%20Transfer%20Info/ip

[9] http://www.piperpat.com/page/new-innovation-patents#.U1S8pF2Hqho

[10] A design refers to the features of a shape, configuration, pattern or ornament applied to an article by any industrial process.

[11] http://www.davies.com.au/content/43/designs/design-protection

[12] http://ipindia.nic.in/girindia/

[13] http://www.wipo.int/sme/en/ip_business/trade_secrets/trade_secrets.htm

[14] http://www.wipo.int/tk/en/tk/

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