Unlike any other creatures in this world, humankind is gifted with the power of thinking. Human mind is one of the unique creations which allows a human being to think and act. Creativity in human mind is the reason behind all (or at least most!) innovations occurring almost every day in various fields. Over the last 150 years, innumerable inventions and discoveries have been made by great intellectuals in different fields. In order to protect those inventions and discoveries, the world started recognizing such inventions and discoveries by conferring the ownership to the inventor by way of granting Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in respect of such inventions.
What is IPR?
IPR is the ownership and proprietary rights exclusively granted to the inventor or creator in relation to innovative work. IPR forms a valuable and significant asset to the inventor or creator.
Why is it important to protect IPR?
Let us assume that an engineer invents a new software after putting in many years of efforts and experiments while going through multiple attempts and failures. The only way the engineer can showcase to that world that he is the inventor of such software, derive economic benefit and protect the software being copied by someone else is by claiming, possessing and protecting the IPR in such software.
The advantages of possessing and protecting IPR of a product are the following:
· IPR holder of a product or process is regarded as the owner of such product, process and entire world will recognize that ownership.
· IPR holder of a product can exploit the product commercially in the global market.
· Any person other than IPR holder cannot derive any benefits out of the Product.
From personal and business perspective, protection of IPR is very important to the creator or inventor. If no proper protection is accorded through IPR, then there are high chances of its misuse of IPR by any individual, corporation and company. The economic benefit to the creator or inventor will be significantly diminished.
The purpose of recognizing IPR is that one should respect the creative and innovative work of the creator and inventor. Specific recognition of IPR will grant the absolute ownership right to creator or inventor and exclusively restrict others from using the IPR for their own benefit. The biggest asset of biggest companies in the world is their IPR as they derive maximum economic benefit out of proprietary technology.
IPR legislation in India:
Patent, Trademark, Copyright and Designs are most commonly recognised IPRs in India. India is one of the countries that provide significant protection to the IPR of the creator or inventor by enacting various acts. Such acts are The Patent Act (1970), The Copyright Act (1957), The Trademark Act (1999) and The Designs Act (2000). India is always committed to bring new measures for protecting IPR at domestic and international level by adopting various international IPR treaties.
India is a party to international treaties such as Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Patent Cooperation Treaty, and Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure and Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
How to protect IPR:
Protecting once own IPR is very important from business and personal perspective. Hence, registration of IPR is not a mandatory for claiming ownership and protecting the IPR. However one should follow the procedure mandated by law for claiming ownership and to get protection from unauthorized use and exploitation of the IPR. Procedure to enroll as the owner/holder of IPR is getting easy due to the efforts of Indian Government. The office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademarks is taking measures to issue IPR to the applicant real quick provided no objections are raised against such applicant.
It is very evident that new inventions are important for further development of mankind and protection of IPR in a new invention is important for inventor for getting recognized as IPR holder before the entire world and to avoid misuse of that invention by certain people for their own benefit.
Research and inputs by Paruchuri Baswanth Mohan.
The author is a senior international corporate lawyer and can be contacted at email@example.com