Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property Right (IPR) is generally referred to certain types of exclusive and monopolistic rights to specific person(s) recognised by law.

Intellectual Property Right (IPR) refers to creative outputs of mankind such as names and images, inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols used in business. Intellectual Property Right is protected by Law.

Generally, IPR includes

  • Trademarks
  • Patents
  • Copyrights
  • Industrial Design
  • Geographical Indications

Intellectual Property Right enables people to earn recognition or financial benefit from their creations or inventions.


A trademark is typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, image or a combination of these to distinguish a company's products and services from that of others. A trademark is also used as a marketing tool for creating awareness and recognition of a company's products or services among customers.

A trademark is the intellectual property of its holder; and ownership of a trademark flows from the business usage of the trademark.

Trademark Registration

A company/individual should register the trademark in order to possess the complete ownership of the mark and to protect the same from misuse by another person/business entity. Only if the trademark is registered, the owner gets the legal rights to take legal action against an infringement of trademark.

Registering a trademark gives the owner exclusive right to use the mark for their products and/or services. If the trademark is registered, the owner can use the symbol ®. In the case of trademarks for which a registration application is filed, the symbol ™ can be used.

Using these symbols for unregistered trademarks or in cases where no application for registration is filed is an offence.

Trademark Classification

Under Trademark, goods and services are categorized into 45 classes.

Registering a trademark or name under a particular class provides complete protection under that category only. If the product or services falls into different classifications, it is very pertinent to register the mark or name in all relevant classes.

If a trademark is used for goods and services under different classes, separate applications are required to be filed under each class to get protection of trademark for the respective goods and services.


A patent is an exclusive right granted by the government to the inventor of a product for a limited time for his/her invention. This right excludes others from making, using, selling, and importing the product or process, for producing that product without his/her consent.

Any invention relating to a product or process that is new, involving inventive steps and capable of industrial application can be patented.

The inventor is required make an application to the government with full disclosure of his invention for the grant of patent.

A patent provides only territorial protection of rights and therefore it is applicable only within India or that particular country in which the patent has been filed. There is no protection of the patent worldwide. Filing a patent application in India enables the applicant to file a corresponding application for the same invention in convention countries, within 12 months from the date of filing in India. Separate patents should be obtained in each country where the applicant requires protection for his/her invention.

A patent application can be filed either by the first inventor or his assignee, either alone or jointly with any other person.

Application for patent should be filed before making public the invention disclosure. If this is not done, making public the invention will destroy the novelty of the invention.

In India, a patent for a product is granted for 20 years from the date of filing the patent application.


Copyright means the exclusive right to do or authorise the doing of certain actions in respect of a literary, dramatic or musical work, computer programme, artistic work, a cinematograph film or a sound recording.

Copyright protects only the form or manner in which the ideas are expressed and do not cover ideas and information as such. Copyright applies to a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms or works.

Across various countries, these include poems, theses, plays, other literary works, movies, dances, musical compositions, audio recordings, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, software, radio and television broadcasts, and industrial designs.

The owner of a registered copyright can use the copyright symbol '©' (the letter C inside a circle).

Industrial Designs

Industrial design refers to any creative activity that results in the physical or formal appearance of a product. Design right is an exclusive right awarded to the proprietor for a new or an original design. It is a combination of art and science to improve the physical appearance, usability and marketability of a product. Industrial designs are the intellectual property of the original proprietor.

The design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or colour.

The essential purpose of design protection is to promote and protect the design element of industrial products.

The design of an iPad, Bisleri bottle, car design, Calcium Sandoz bottle, clip of a Parker pen are all examples of industrial designs.

Geographical Indications

A geographical indication (GI) is a name or identification used on certain products that hails from a specific geographical location or origin. The use of geographical indication may act as a certification that the product possesses certain authentic qualities and is made according to traditional methods. This way, a product enjoys a certain reputation due to its geographical origin.

GI protects traditional products produced by rural communities over generations that have gained a reputation in the markets for their specific qualities. This helps the community of producers to invest in maintaining the specific qualities of the product because of which the reputation is built. It allows them to put more efforts in promoting the reputation of the product.

Following are few examples of geographical indications registered in India – 'Darjeeling Tea', 'Aranmula Kannadi', 'Kancheepuram Silk', 'Kashmir Pashmina', 'Feni', 'Santipore Saree', 'Kullu Shawl', 'Mysore Silk' and 'Basmti Rice'.

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