Most of you will already be familiar with the term property rights. This means the legal rights of any party towards property via transfer, registration, purchase, gift, inheritance and other mechanisms. While we mostly think of actual property in this context, i.e. residential or commercial assets, there is another kind of property that also falls in the legal spectrum of rights. Intellectual property rights in India have hitherto been neglected due to lack of awareness.
However, with the growing need to preserve creativity and originality, creators can take recourse to these legal rights to safeguard such unique assets. Here’s learning more about these rights below.
Intellectual property rights in India cover particular kinds of assets which are intangible and which have been created due to the mental faculties of people being used for the purpose. The needs for getting registration for such properties may differ based on the asset type in question. Ownership of these rights widens the scope for commercialising and safeguarding these assets.
These rights are universally listed or classified worldwide although some terminologies may witness minor changes. The same can be true for registration. There are various types of intellectual property rights in India that everyone should be aware of. These have been briefly covered below.
Here are some of the major intellectual property rights in India:
The Copyrights Act, 1957- Copyright is protection for the way an idea is expressed, instead of the idea. As per Section 13 of this Act, any safeguard under copyright may be provided for original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works; cinematograph films; and sound recording. It may also be given for computer-based programmes and is an exclusive right for an individual to execute specific activities with regard to the work that is under the copyright. Section 17 also mentions that the original work’s author will be the first owner. The owner can license copyrights to third-parties via agreements. For literary work that is already published, along with artistic and dramatic work, this protection will be available for 60 years along with the author’s life. As per Section 57, the owner/author even post assigning any work to another individual can claim authorship of the work legally and claim damages for any distortion, mutilation or modification of the original.
The Trade Marks Act, 1999- This Act calls a trade mark as a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others and may include shape of goods, their packaging and combination of colours. Trademarks offer legal protection for shapes, colours, symbols, words and other elements linked to any service or product. An application may be filed for marks which are intended to be used in the future. The Act has several grounds for registration being turned down. The initial validity of registration is 10 years and this may be renewed for similar periods.
The Patents Act, 1970- This Act affords one of the major intellectual property rights in India to inventors. Patents ensure safety for new inventions, safeguarding the inventor’s rights and preventing any unauthorised usage or misappropriation. It is given for 20 years from the application filing date. Patents are registered when any invention is original and novel only.
The Design Act of 2000- Any design here indicates only the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornaments or composition of lines or colours, applied to any article whether in two dimensional or three dimensional or in both forms, by an industrial process or means, whether manual, mechanical or chemical, separate or combined, which in the finished article appeal to an are judged solely by the eye. Designs are only accepted for registration if they are unique and not produced/reproduced earlier while not being revealed to the masses and easily distinguishable. Registration is valid for 10 years and it can be extended for further 5-year periods.
GI Act of 1999- The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act offers legal identification to specific manufactured, agricultural or natural products as being produced/originating in any specific locality, region, country, or territory. A few examples include Basmati rice or Darjeeling tea.
Two other acts include the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Act of 2001 and the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act of 2000 in two specific categories.
There are thus various kinds of intellectual property rights in India. They enable creators and entities to legally safeguard their assets from illegal and unauthorised reproduction, misuse and misappropriation. India is also a party to several global treaties and conventions that ensure international protection and recognition for these rights in the country. Raising more awareness on the same is the need of the hour.
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