Pocket Notes

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property

The Government of India grants exclusive Intellectual Property Rights for protecting the originality of the work of the inventor. Intellectual property is an intangible creation of the human mind. The intellectual right is important for maintaining the quality,  safety, efficacy of any product and services. Intellectual property rights are similar to any property right. They allow creators, or owners, of patents, trademarks, or copyrighted works to benefit from their own work or investment in a creation.

These rights are stated in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides the right to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests resulting from authorship of scientific, literary, or artistic productions. The importance of these rights was first recognized in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886). Both treaties are administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Protecting and Promoting Intellectual Property

Of the several reasons the first would be that it shoulders the progress and well-being of humanity and its capacity to create and invent new works in the areas of technology and culture. Second, the legal protection of new creations encourages the commitment of additional resources for further innovation. Third, the promotion and protection of intellectual property spurs economic growth, creates new jobs and industries, and enhances the quality and enjoyment of life. An efficient and equitable intellectual property system can help all countries to realize intellectual property’s potential as a catalyst for economic development and social and cultural well-being. The intellectual property system helps strike a balance between the interests of innovators and the public interest, providing an environment in which creativity and invention can flourish, for the benefit of all.

Patent

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention – a product or process that provides a new way of doing something, or that offers a new technical solution to a problem. A patent provides patent owners with protection for their inventions. Protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years.

Why are Patents necessary?

Patents provide incentives to individuals by recognizing their creativity and offering the possibility of material reward for their marketable inventions. These incentives encourage innovation, which in turn enhances the quality of human life. 

What kind of protection does Patent offer?

Patent protection generally means that an invention cannot be commercially reproduced or used, distributed, or sold without the consent of the patent owner. Patent rights are usually enforced in courts. Most administrations hold the authority to stop patent infringement. A court can also declare a patent invalid upon a successful challenge by a third party. 

What rights do Patent Owners have?

A patent owner has the right to decide who may – or may not – use the patented invention for the period during which it is protected. Patent owners may give permission to, or license, other parties to use their inventions on mutually agreed terms. Owners may also sell their invention rights to someone else, who then becomes the new owner of the patent. Once a patent expires, protection ends, and the invention enters the public domain. This is also known as becoming off-patent, meaning the owner no longer holds exclusive rights to the invention, and it becomes available for commercial exploitation by others.

What kind of Inventions be protected?

An invention must, in general, fulfill the following conditions to be protected by a patent. It must be of practical use; it must show an element of novelty, meaning some new characteristic that is not part of the body of existing knowledge in its technical field. That body of existing knowledge is called prior art. The invention must show an inventive step that could not be deduced by a person with average knowledge of the technical field. Its subject matter must be accepted as patentable under law. In many countries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, plant or animal varieties, discoveries of natural substances, commercial methods, or methods of medical treatment (as opposed to medical products) are not generally patentable.

Trademark

A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company. Its origin dates to ancient times when craftsmen reproduced their signatures, or “marks”, on their artistic works or products of a functional or practical nature. Over the years, these marks have evolved into today’s system of trademark registration and protection. The system helps consumers to identify and purchase a product or service based on whether its specific characteristics and quality.

What do Trademarks do?

Trademark protection ensures the owners of the marks that they have exclusive right to use these marks to identify their goods or services, or to authorize others to use them in return for payment. The period of protection varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely upon payment of the corresponding fees. Trademark protection is legally enforced by courts. Almost all systems have the authority to stop trademark infringement. In a larger perspective, trademarks promote initiative and enterprise worldwide by rewarding their owners with recognition and financial profit. Trademark protection also prohibits the efforts of unfair competitors, such as counterfeiters, to use similar distinctive signs to market inferior or different products or services. The system enables people with skill and enterprise to produce and market goods and services in the fairest possible conditions, thereby facilitating international trade. 

What kind of Trademarks be registered?

Trademarks may be one or a combination of words, letters, and numerals. They may consist of drawings, symbols, or three-dimensional signs and packaging of goods. Additionally, identifying the commercial source of goods or services, several other trademark categories also exist. Collective marks are owned by an association whose members use them to indicate products with a certain level of quality and who agree to adhere to specific requirements set by the association. 

Copyright and related Rights

Copyright laws grant authors, artists, and other creators protection for their literary and artistic creations generally referred to as works. A strongly associated field is related rights or rights related to copyright that encompass rights similar or identical to those of copyright, sometimes they are more limited and of short duration. The beneficiaries of related rights are: 

  • performers (such as actors and musicians) in their performances.
  • producers of phonograms (for example, compact discs) in their sound recordings; and
  • broadcasting organizations in their radio and television programs. 

Works covered by copyright include, but are not limited to: novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers, advertisements, computer programs, databases, films, musical compositions, choreography, paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architecture, maps, and technical drawings.

What rights do Copyright and other related rights provide?

The creators, their heirs, and successors (generally referred to as “right holders”) have certain basic rights bestowed upon them under copyright law. They hold the exclusive right to use or authorize others to use the work on agreed terms. The right holder/holders of work can authorize or prohibit:

  • its reproduction in all forms, including print form and sound recording. 
  • its public performance and communication to the public; its broadcasting. 
  • its translation into other languages; and 
  • its adaptation, such as from a novel to a screenplay for a film. 

Mass distribution, communication, and financial investment (for example, publications, sound recordings, and films) are required for many types of works protected under the laws of copyright and related rights. Hence, creators often transfer these rights to companies who can develop and market the works, in return for compensation in the form of payments and/or royalties (compensation based on a percentage of revenues generated by the work).

The economic rights relating to copyright are of limited duration – as provided for in the relevant WIPO treaties – beginning with the creation and fixation of the work and lasting for not less than 50 years after the creator’s death. National laws may establish longer terms of protection. This term of protection enables both creators and their heirs and successors to benefit financially for a reasonable period. Rights provided under copyright and related rights laws can be enforced by right holders through civil action suits, administrative remedies, and criminal prosecution. Injunctions, orders requiring the destruction of infringing items, inspection orders, among others, are used to enforce these rights.

Benefits of protecting Copyright and other related rights

Copyright and related rights protection is an essential component in encouraging and protecting the process of human creativity and innovation. Giving authors, artists, and creators incentives in the form of recognition and fair economic reward increases their activity and output. By ensuring the existence and enforceability of rights, individuals and companies can more easily invest in the creation, development, and global dissemination of their works. This, in turn, helps to increase access to and enhance the enjoyment of culture, knowledge, and entertainment the world over, and stimulates economic and social development.

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