What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the human mind – everything from works of art to inventions (products and/or processes), computer programs to trademarks and other commercial signs.
Forms of Intellectual Property
The Copyrights Act 1957 provides protection of copyrights through registration of such works in India and is available for literary, dramatic, musical, sound recording and artistic work.
The law relating to Trade Marks is governed by the Trade Marks Act, 1999. A distinctive mark can be registered under the said Act.
The Patents Act, 1970 recognises product patent protection for a period of 14 years. However, in three areas: food, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, it recognises only a process patent for a period of 7 years. With the signing of the GATT Agreement, the Patents Act, 1970 was amended by the Patents (Amendment) Act, 1999 to bring it in line with the Trade TRIPS Agreement. The Patents (Second Amendment) Act 2002 provides protection for new micro-organisms and proposes a uniform 20 year term from filing date. It also provides for publication of all patent applications within 18 months of filing or priority date, whichever is earlier. The third amendment to the Patents Act 1970 was introduced through the Patents (Amendment) Ordinance, 2004 w.e.f. 1st January, 2005. This Ordinance was later replaced by the Patents (Amendment) Act 2005 (Act 15 Of 2005 ) on 4th April, 2005 which was brought into force from 1-1-2005.
The Designs Act, 2000 protects the designs. 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.
The Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 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 Act thus facilitates promotion of exported Indian goods and also protects consumers from deception.
Government of India has introduced a Scheme for Facilitating Start-Ups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP) that extends to 31-Mar-2023.
Every country has its own patent laws and those laws define the protection of your intellectual property in that country. You will need to apply for appropriate intellectual property registration in the country you wish to protect your invention in. However, there are a few provisions that can help you get the priority of your application protected. You may use Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) filing. The Treaty makes it possible to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in each of a large number of countries by filing an “international” patent application.