What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the human mind —such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names, and images used in commerce. It is a category of legal rights that grants the creator or owner certain exclusive rights to their intellectual creations, preventing others from unauthorized use or reproduction.
IP protections encourage innovation and creativity by providing creators and inventors with incentives to invest time, effort, and resources in the development of new ideas and products. Intellectual property rights are typically territorial, meaning they are enforced within specific jurisdictions, and the duration of protection varies depending on the type of intellectual property. It plays a crucial role in fostering economic growth, promoting competition, and protecting the interests of creators and inventors.

Forms of Intellectual Property


Protect inventions (Products /Processes), granting the inventor exclusive rights to make, use, and sell the invention for a limited period (usually 20 years). In other words, patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, imported, or sold by others without the patent owner’s consent.

The law relating to Patents is governed by the Patents Act, of 1970.

Trade Marks

Safeguard symbols, names, and slogans used to identify and distinguish goods or services in the marketplace. Trademark protection helps prevent consumer confusion.
The law relating to Trade Marks is governed by the Trade Marks Act, 1999.


Cover original works of authorship, including literary, artistic, and musical creations. Copyright grants the creator exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and display their work.
The Copyrights Act 1957 protects copyrights through the registration of such works in India.


Protect the visual design of objects, such as the shape, surface, or ornamentation. Industrial design rights are relevant in fields like product design and fashion.
The law relating to Design is governed by the Designs Act, 2000. The features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or composition of lines or colours applied to any article whether in 2D or 3D (or both), by an industrial process, can be registered under the said Act. The Designs Act entitles an applicant to apply for registration in more than one class. However, registration is granted for only one class.

Geographical Indication

Protects geographical indicia of goods that originate from or are manufactured in a particular territory, region or even locality. These goods include agricultural, natural or manufactured goods that are distinct from similar products due to quality, reputation or any other characteristic that is essentially attributable to their geographical origin.
The law relating to Geographical Indications is governed by the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. The Act facilitates promotion of exported Indian goods and also protects consumers from deception.

Integrated Circuit Layout-Designs

Creation of inventive layout designs for integrated circuits is essential for producing progressively smaller digital devices with increased functionalities. This type of IP protects original, inherently distinctive layout-designs that have not been previously commercially exploited and registration is a necessary pre-requisite for protection.
The law relating to Integrated Circuit Layout-Design is governed by the Semiconductor Integrated Circuit Layout-Design Act, 2000.

Plant breeders right

It is a form of intellectual property protection granted to the breeders of new plant varieties. The primary purpose of Plant Breeder’s Rights is to encourage the development of new and improved plant varieties by providing legal protection to the breeders for their investment in research, development, and commercialization of new plant varieties.
The law relating to plant varieties and farmer rights are governed by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001

Trade secret

Trade secrets are a form of intellectual property involving that refers to confidential, proprietary information that provides a business with a competitive advantage. To qualify, the information must be known to a limited group, have commercial value, and be actively protected through reasonable measures, such as confidentiality agreements. Unauthorized acquisition or disclosure of this information, contrary to honest commercial practices, is considered an unfair practice and a breach of trade secret protection. Unlike patents, trademarks, or copyrights, trade secrets are not registered with any government agency. Instead, they are protected through confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. The unauthorized acquisition, use, or disclosure of trade secrets is generally considered a violation of law.