Intellectual property refers to that property which are intangible creation of human minds such as inventory, artistic and literary works, signs and symbols etc. To protect and safeguard the rights of the creators of these Intellectual Property we have Intellectual Property Rights. Countries provides these rights for the purpose of giving statutory rights to the creators for their creation and promoting the creativity of the creators which will further encourage fair trading and would contribute in the world’s sociological and ecological development. Thus, Intellectual Property Rights are the legal rights given to the inventors or creators to protect their invention or creation. These rights are exclusive in nature and can be utilized by the inventor or creator on their invention or creation. IPR helps in aiding the economic development of a country by providing security to the creators, encouraging industrial development and economic growth.
Types of Intellectual Property Rights
Earlier the term Intellectual Property had a narrower sense of meaning which only protected trademarks, patent and designs. But now the scope of Intellectual Property has gotten wider because along with the protection of IP’s it also provides mechanism for handling the infringement, and unauthorized use of IP’s and provides a pool of information to the general people as all forms of IP are published except the trade secrets.
There are four well-known types of Intellectual Property Rights i.e., Trademark, Patent, Copyright and Trade Secrets which we will be discussing below.
A Trademark can be defined as a combination of things such as words, symbols, signs, phrase, designs etc. which distinguishes and identifies your services or goods from other goods and services. A Trademark helps in identifying the source of goods and services, provides legal protection to your brand and helps in guarding it from fraud. People who have trademark usually think that they legally owned a particular phrase or word and can prevent others from using it. However, they don’t have a right on a particular word or phrase in general but only to the usage of that phrase or word in respect to your goods and services provided.
For example, a company uses a particular logo as trademark for a small honey business to identify and distinguish your goods and services from the other honey business companies. This doesn’t mean that you can stop others from using the same logo for non-honey business related goods and services.
Another misconception regarding to trademark is that merely choosing a trademark which describes your goods and services is effective but having a creative and unique trademark will be more effective and easier to protect.
A patent is an exclusive right given to an invention which is new and hasn’t been invented or introduced in the world. The Indian Patent Law, 1970 discusses about three main components, basically the triple test which makes an invention patentable which are as follows;
- Novelty – it means that the invention or technology has not been created, anticipated or published or exists in public domain anywhere in the world before filing the patent application.
- Inventive Step – it means that the invention or technology must have a technical advantage than the other already existing in the world, enhance economy of the world and/or is non obvious in comparison with the existing technology.
- Industrial Applicability – the invention must be capable of being manufactured or used in the industry.
In addition to these criteria the invention should also be a patentable subject matter and it should meet the formal and substantiative standards of patent application. The patent owner is given right to commercialize his patent including buying and selling of the patent and giving license to a third party under some terms and conditions
It is a form of protection given to the authors for original works of authorship which includes literary, dramatic, artistic, musical etc. It does not protect the idea, instead it only covers the tangible forms of creations and original works of the creators. The copyright holder is given a bundle of rights which include exclusive right of selling, reproducing and making copies of his creation. However, the rights of a copyright holder are infringed my many ways, but the most common is plagiarism. Plagiarism can be defined as mere copy-pasting of content of some other person in your own work without giving any citation or reference. For example, copy pasting of content from someone else’s work in your own research paper without citing it or giving reference of it.
Section 14 of the Copyright Act, 1957 gives protection to the creation of the copyright holder from being infringed by a person. But according to Section 51 of the Act, the burden of proof lies on the copyright holder to prove that someone has copied his content and create a prima facie case against him.
- Trade Secrets
It is an important aspect of IPR. As the name suggests, Trade Secrets are the confidential information or secrets of a business, which helps in gaining more economic advantage than others. In case the trade secret is leaked it may hamper the business function and working in the world and may suffer numerous losses and damage to the reputation. It may in the form of confidential data, process, design, formula, composition etc. which should remain within the business itself. It is a protection given without any registration unlike patents. For example, Coca Cola recipe was never patented as it would leak its recipe in the public domain. The officials of the Coca Cola said that even if two employees know the recipe, they only know one half of each recipe and no one knows the full recipe as a single piece of information. There is always a threat to the trade secrets as the attackers or the hackers have an eye on them so that they can blackmail the company. The most famous example of this is hacking the scripts of the episodes of Game of Thrones, however the company was able to pull of monetary gain with proper use of IPRs.
The purpose of IPR is to encourage the invention of new things and creating artistic works, musicals, literatures etc. which might further increase the economic growth of the country. To protect the rights of the holders of the IP it is necessary to develop a strategy which must be aligned with the national and international laws over the world. Different types of IPR demand different types of protection, services, handling, planning, strategies etc. with different person with knowledge of science, arts, law, finance, economics, marketing etc.
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