Concept of Intellectual Property Rights
The history of property rights is age-old. A property is defined as assets of every kind, whether corporeal or incorporeal, movable or immovable, tangible or intangible, and legal documents or instruments evidencing title to or interests in such assets.
IPRs are defined differently. It is the creative work of the human kind or an intellectual capital. It is a form of legal entitlement which allows its holder to control the use of certain intangible ideas and expressions. The term IPRs reflects the idea that once established, such entitlements are generally treated by courts, especially in common law jurisdictions, as if they were tangible property. The most common forms of IPRs include patents, copyrights, trade marks, trade secrets, etc. The purposes of exclusive rights laws have varied, but they nevertheless have the appearance of granting the “owner” a monopoly on copying or distribution of a protected form of “property.” This was done originally to grant a boon to a king’s favourite with some positive advantages to the public, since often these grants were prerequisites before a merchant would undertake production.
The contribution of intellectual property to industrial and economic development cannot be exaggerated nor undermined. The industrial development of developed countries is mainly indebted to their intellectual property protection and commercial exploitation for a limited period. Since the intellectual property is unique in the industrial and economic development of a country, it becomes; therefore, inevitable to protect it. IPRs have a direct bearing and symbiosis with inventions and technology.
One of the primary functions of IPRs is to exclude the general community from using one’s work without payment or proper remuneration or written consent. Despite its underlying hints at selfishness, this may seem like a logical idea. However, IPRs are used for the most part as a method of disallowing the public from utilizing the input that one has contributed to society, in exchange for personal profit.
Patents are statutorily designed legal instruments aimed at protecting inventions. Inventions, in modern times, are the outcome of well-planned research and development. Patents act as economic incentives to inventors who put in intellectual labor to develop new and useful inventions with industrial applications. Patents foster research and development by providing limited term exclusivity to patentees to commercially make use of the inventions they own. Patents are granted by national governments in consideration for disclosing to the public the scientific and technological information subsisting in the inventions by the inventors or the subsequent owners of the inventions. Published patent specifications are, therefore, important scientific documents containing extremely valuable scientific information. A patent is enforceable only within the territorial limits of the nation granting it. Through various international institutions and conventions, countries can enforce their rights throughout the world.
Patents are justified as they encourage research and innovation by offering incentives to develop commercially viable products or processes. The system also enables disclosure of inventions to the general public instead of it remaining a trade secret. In case of countries like India where there is a large pool of traditional knowledge, patent protection gives us a competitive advantage, whereas lack of patent protection allows other countries to acquire monopolist rights vis-a-vis our indigenous knowledge. Besides traditional knowledge, strong patenting through several sectors such as Information Technology, electronics, etc. is a way to wealth creation for the entire country. It is a myth that patent protection covers only major technological breakthroughs. The argument of information dissemination through the patent process is imperative to lessen the knowledge and information gap between the developed and developing world, is contestable.
To encourage research and development.
To reward the inventor for the expenses that he goes through to make the product commercially viable.
To induce an inventor to disclose his inventions rather than keep them secret.
To induce the investment of capital in new lines of production.
The basic philosophy contained in the Indian Patents Act, 1970, as enumerated in Section 83 confirms this position in the following words :
That patents are granted to encourage inventions and to secure that the inventions are worked in India on a commercial scale and to the fullest extent, that is reasonably practical without undue delay, and
That they are not grated merely to enable patentees to enjoy a monopoly for the importation of the patented article.
India, by becoming a signatory to TRIPs Agreement, made a series of amendments to its existing laws and enacted new legislations in consonance with the TRIPs commitments in 1995. They are
Patents (Amendment ) Act, 2005
Trademarks Act, 1999
Designs Act, 2000
Copyright (Amendment) Act 1999
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Act, 2001
Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
Biological Diversity Act, 2002
Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Designs Act, 2000
Industrialized countries have actively promoted the adoption of new international rules on the matter in order to obtain worldwide protection for the innovations they generate. The expansion and strengthening of such rules are bound to take place in a scenario of deep north-south asymmetry; only a small fraction of world research and development (R & D) expenditure is made in developing countries, which overwhelmingly depend upon innovation made in the industrialized world. In India, all forms of dance, music, sculpture and literature have originally and private right is not accepted by the masses at large.
The intellectual property regime is managed by many conventions and agreements in the world and the TRIPs agreement is the last one in the series of agreements. Thy are :
Paris Convention for Protection of Indiustrial Property, 1883 (revised in 1967 and 1979).
Berne Convention for Protection of Literary and Artisitic Works, 1886 (last revised in 1971).
Madrid Agreed, 1891.
Universal Copyright Convention, 1952.
Lisbon Agreement, 1891
Rome Convention, 1961.
Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organisation, 1967.
Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits, 1989; and
The TRIPs Agreement 1995.