An introduction to the various types of IP rights and how they protect the interests of consumers and producers
Intellectual property forms the basis of development. It could be a book, an artwork, a magazine article, design, or a new way of manufacturing something. There are various forms of intellectual property, but the term `property’ implies that it is owned by someone, either an individual or an organisation. For example, when a movie producer makes a film, it is the individual’s intellectual property. Or if a drug company comes up with an innovative new product, it is considered intellectual property. The term property signifies it can get protection under the law. It’s not dissimilar to the property rights that we know. If, for example, someone steals your car, you can make a police complaint; it then becomes the job of the police to recover your property and apprehend the culprit. The same is the case with intellectual property. If someone makes a copy of your movie, you can sue that entity and get restitution under the law. What are the different types of intellectual property rights in India? Let’s look at some of them.
Patents are one of the most important types of IPR. It is defined as “A government authority or licence conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.” When individuals or organisations invent or come up with a new way of doing something, they approach the patent office, give them details about the product or process, and get protection for their `property’ for a fee. This is justified because these individuals invest years and extensive resources developing something, and would like to be compensated for their efforts. Patents act as an incentive for inventing new products and processes and form an integral part of a culture of innovation and growth. Patent protection is given only for a limited period, say 10 or 20 years.
Among the different types of intellectual property rights, the trademark holds an important position as a unique identifier of a company or a product. It is representative of a brand/company’s standing to consumers– an assurance of a certain standard and quality. Intellectual property protection is vital for trademarks because companies invest a lot of time and money to develop brands. The last thing they want is some imposter selling products or services using their trademarks, deceiving consumers and leading to loss of money and reputation. Trademarks can include names, logos and designs used in packaging or the products themselves.
You may come across the phrase `All Rights Reserved’ while watching a movie, buying a book or a DVD. This is just a way of protecting the contents of the movie, book or DVD, indicating that the copyright is held by the publisher, and no one can copy or use the material in any form without their consent. Copyright is granted to an original work – whether it’s a movie, book, music, computer software or a painting. There are two aspects to copyright – moral and economic. Moral rights give authors the power to be identified as authors of a particular work and to object if it is presented in a distorted or mutilated form. The economic right is more tangible and gives the author to control the use of his or her creation and reap economic rewards from it.
Industrial design is a production technique of a certain product or article. For example, a furniture company could come up with a new way of making a sofa-cum-bed and may want to protect it from being copied by someone else. In many countries, the industrial design must be registered to get protection under industrial design law. In other countries, patents may as well do the trick.
Certain products are tied to a certain geographical location, and producers may want intellectual property protection to ensure that products from other areas do not misuse this indicator. For instance, Basmati rice has been registered under the Department of Commerce in India as a product with a Geographical Indication. This tag is given only to this variety of rice grown in seven states in the foothills of the Himalayas.
IPRs provide a plethora of options
There are multiple options for companies to protect their ideas in every shape and form. These IPRs help in protection, add economic value and ensure idea protection.