May 01,2019 | 22 min read

Why are Intellectual Property Rights Important? by Advocate Jyoti Ravi Sachdeva

Author - Advocate Jyoti Ravi Sachdeva and Associate Nupur Mehrotra 

Intellectual property as the name suggests  is the intangible creation(s) like inventions, literary and artistic work created by the human's intellect. The resulting rights from the creation of said Intellectual property can be broadly classified into following types patents, trademarks, the geographical indication, industrial designs, Copyrights, etc. Intellectual properties are intangible assets/properties   and are different from the traditional property like goods or land as it can be used without the fear of deterioration/depletion of the property.

Intellectual property rights also commonly referred to as “IPRs” are the exclusive rights given to an individual, groups of people or a  entity to use their own ideas or innovation without the fear of competition or usage by the other party at least for a specific period thereby rewarding the efforts, skills and resources used by the party in creating the innovative intellectual property. These rights are made available to the individual or entity to ensure that the fruits of the time, cost and efforts; expended by the inventors in creating an innovative invention; are reaped by the innovators and also to ensure that the willingness to innovate persists, and there is no fear of copying the inventions/ideas and losing the credit.

IPRs are broadly classified in to following categories:


A patent is a right which is exclusively granted to an individual for the invention of a product or process that finds new solutions to the problem or provides a new and novel way of doing any work. Patents are for the protection of the invention and is generally granted for a limited period of 20 years. Getting the Patents helps in recognizing the individual’s innovative work thereby providing incentive for the same by way of exclusive right to commercially exploit such innovation. This in return encourages innovations and enhances the quality of one’s life. Patent protection provides the owner the absolute right to decide who may or may not commercially use the invention. It is upon the owner's wish to permit the  world at large to make use of the invention. The national patent office grants patents after the complete examination of the invention. The invention must be of practical use and must carry some new and novel characteristics. It is essential for business entities to get their work protected through patents so that they earn their share of profit and reward as well as the other business entities are not able to commercially exploit the work without their consent.


Trademark is a peculiar sign/name under which a business entity offers its goods or services. Trademark may be a combination of letters, symbol, color, shape, etc. It is essential for any business firm to  create its own unique name and/or mark and use the trademark to ensure that the their products /services are recognized under the said trademark . Registration for Trademark is generally granted for ten years, and it can be renewed for further period of 10 years each time upon payment of the required fees. Trademarks are territorial in nature and the courts have the authority to stop the infringement of the registered trademark. Trademarks helps the business entity to build the reputation for its products and/or services and enable the consumers to identify the products/services with the business entity providing it. Over a period of time of continuous usage, the Trademarks gets associated with the quality of services and goods provided by the entity and thereby serves to earn the goodwill in the market and maintain its reputation. Trademarks are also a useful tool of communication as in a single logo a business entity can define the intellect and message of the company. Trademark makes it easy for the consumers to distinguishes the business from its competing entities. It also allows the business to effectively use social media networks to expand its business as the brand is the foremost step that consumers identify any product or service with. Trademarks are a valuable asset to any business entity as it creates a goodwill and reputation which can also be encashed at the time of business hive off or acquisitions, and it also helps in attraction of the best talent in the market.


Copyright is the exclusive right owned by the author or creator  of any writing, art, poetry, film, music, novels, drawings, photographs, scriptures, paintings, artistic creations, computer programs, advertisements, databases, maps, technical drawings etc.  Rights related to copyrights includes the rights of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms, sound recordings, etc.  By virtue of Copyright, the right holder can authorize or prohibit the reproduction, publication, distribution, public performance, translation, adaptation of his/her work. Copyright in a work last till the owner is alive as well as an additional 70 years after his death. Copyright owners normally assign these rights so that they can get benefited by way of compensation in the form of payments or royalties earned out of publicly distributing their work.. Copyrights and related rights gets created automatically without any need for registrations.


Industrial Design refers to the aesthetical or ornamental aspect of an article. It may consist of three/two dimensional features, shapes, patterns, lines, colour, etc. that may be applied to a article/product which appeals to and solely judged by the eye. To be eligible for protection under Industrial design, it should be novel, original or non-functional. Registration of the Industrial Designs helps protect the owner against unauthorized copying thereby ensuring fair return on the skills, efforts and costs expended to create it. Registration is normally granted for ten years and can be further renewed for a further period of five years. Such rights are territorial in nature and are restricted to the countries in which the same are registered.  


Geographical indications refers to an indication that a particular product territory having a special quality or reputation or characteristics originates from a definite geographical for e.g. Darjeeling Tea, Kanchipuram silk saree, bikaneri bhujia, kolhapuri chappal, etc. Geographical indications provides recognition to the products which in turn boost exports and promotes economic prosperity of the producers of those products in a geographical territory. Registration is not compulsory but affords better protection in case of infringement. A producer can register as an authorized user in respect of registered geographical indications. Registration is normally granted for 10 years and can be further renewed for a further period of 10 years each. Geographical indication is a public property and cannot be assigned, transferred, licensed or pledged. However upon the death of an authorized user, the right devolves upon his successors. 

With the increasing globalization and rapid technological innovations, the owners of intellectual property in addition to getting the intellectual property rights protected in India can also get their rights protected worldwide and thereby get recognized and rewarded for their ingenuity. As a part of United Nations systems of specialized agencies, the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) serves as a forum for its member states to harmonize the rules and practices for the protection of intellectual property rights by playing a key role in evolving the systems through treaty negotiations, legal and technical assistance, training including the enforcement.  


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