Intellectual Property, time and again known as ‘IP’ refers the creations of intellect. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are the rights awarded by society to individuals or organizations principally over innovations and creative works such as inventions, literary works, artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. It is a form of knowledge and has some resemblance to ownership rights over physical property. They give the creator the right to prevent others from making unauthorized use of their property for a limited period. IP is categorized as Industrial Property (functional commercial innovations), and Artistic and Literary Property (cultural creations). Intellectual Property creates a legal means to appropriate knowledge. The characteristic of knowledge is that one person’s use does not diminish another’s. The main Intellectual Property Rights are Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, Design rights and Geographical Indications.
The main Intellectual Property Rights are:
TRADE MARKS: Signs attached to goods or services which enable customers to distinguish one trader from another by identifying their origin.
COPYRIGHT: Protects creativity and investment in creativity.
PATENTS: Protect inventions, mainly incorporated in mass-market products.
DESIGN RIGHTS: Protect aspects of product appearance.
GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION: Identify the specific geographical origin of a product.
Importance of IPR
Intellectual Property protection is the key factor for an economic growth and advancement in the technology sectors. They are good for business, benefit the public at large and act as catalysts for technical progress. Though politically nations differ on whether IPRs are good or bad, the developed world has come to an accommodation with them over a long period. Even if their disadvantages sometimes outweigh their advantages, by and large the developed world has the national economic strength and established legal mechanisms to overcome the problems so caused, the developed world has the wealth and infrastructure to take advantage of the opportunities it provide.
The importance of IPR in world trade scenario was first time recognized during the Uruguay round of negotiations and the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) was made a part of the World Trade Agreement in the year 1994. The objective of the agreement is to promote effective and adequate protection and enforcement of IPR for social and economic welfare. The member nations, required to change their national legislation to make it compatible with the provisions of this agreement. As a result, the IPR were essentially recognized and accepted all over the world due to some very important reasons;
• To provide incentive to the individual for new creations.
• Providing due recognition to the creators and inventors.
• Ensuring material reward for Intellectual Property.
• Ensuring the availability of the genuine and original products.
Here, in Knowledge Center, we explain the significance of Intellectual Property in a knowledge economy and summarize the role of each type of Intellectual Property Rights viz. Trademark, Copyright, Patent, Design and Geographical Indication.
Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Properties (TRIPS)
The agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is a treaty administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which sets down minimum standards for forms of Intellectual Property (IP) regulation. It was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) treaty in 1994.
As India is a member of the WTO, the country is bound to comply with the requirements of the TRIPS agreement including the timetable set by it to introduce the new legislations with respect to IPR. The “Least Developed Countries” were given an effective date of January 1, 2006 to effect all the requirements of TRIPS including the provisions for granting of product patents as per the article 27(1) of TRIPS.
India is not defined as a LDC as per the United Nations classification in which forty-eight countries are considered as least-developed countries some of them being members of WTO. India therefore opted to be classified as a developing country and accordingly the TRIPS compliance timetable for the introduction of product patent regime in India on or before January 1, 2005.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international Intellectual Property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest.
The WIPO Convention established WIPO in 1967 with a mandate from its Member States to promote the protection of IP throughout the world through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other international organizations. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.