Intellectual Property refers to creation of mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
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.
IPRs are customarily divided in two main types:
1. Copyrights and Rights related to copyrights
2. Industrial Property
- Copyrights and Rights related to copyrights cover rights of authors of literary and artistic work (books, music composition, painting, computer programs, films, sculpture etc.). It also includes rights of performers (g., actors, singers, musicians, broadcasting organizations etc.)
- Generally, these rights are protected for a period of 50 years after the death of the author.
- Purpose: Encourage and reward creative work, promote innovation, provide appropriate financial benefits.
- Industrial Property focuses on protecting inventions and Creative work (with industrial or commercial applications).
- Industrial Property includes patents for inventions, Industrial design for aesthetic creations, and trademarks or geographical indications for distinctive signs.
Industrial property can be divided into two main sections
- Protection of distinctive signs in particular trademarks and geographical indications
- Trademarks distinguish the goods and services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings
- Geographical indications identify a good as originating in a place where a given characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin).
- The protection may last indefinitely, provided the sign in question continues to be distinctive.
- Aims: The protection of such distinctive signs aims to stimulate and ensure fair competition and to protect customers, by enabling them to make informed choices between various goods and services.
- Patents, Industrial Design and Trade Secrets
- This is the second type of Industrial Property.
- The aim is to stimulate innovation and design and promote creation of technology. It also gives incentive and means to finance R&D activities.
- A functioning IPR regime also facilitates transfer of technology in the for of FDI, joint ventures and licensing.
- The protection is usually given for finite term (typically 20 years in the case of patents)
- Exclusive rights given under IPR are subject to a number of limitations and exceptions. This is aimed at fine tuning the balance that has to be found between the legitimate interests of right holders and of users.
How does an average person benefit from IPR?
- IPR rewards creativity and human endeavour, which fuel the progress of humankind.
- eg. Film industry, software industry which brings pleasure to millions of lives would not exist without copyright protection.
- More research and development leads to further ease in the life of a common man by production of better and more efficient products for consumers.
- Consumer protection through trademark, GI etc.