Intellectual property deals with the creations of the mind, namely inventions, literary and artistic artworks, symbols or designs or various other works,. It refers to anything that is product of human intelligence, including that which is scientific and technical in nature. Intellectual Property Rights protects the creations and inventions of the creators, manufacturers and inventors. By providing them legal right over their intellectual property, and prohibits the commercial use of the invention or such creation without the consent of the intellectual property right holder. The objective is to protect the property of the creators and promote the creativity and the innovation of the human mind.

Types of Intellectual Property Rights

The law relating to intellectual Property Rights  grants protection to  the following types of Intellectual Property;

  • Trademarks
  • Patent
  • Copyright
  • Geographical Indications
  • Plant Varieties
  • Industrial Designs
  • Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits
  1. Trademark

Trademark refers to a phrase, word or symbol or graphical representation thereof with respect to goods and services of a proprietor that distinguish them from those supplied by others.  The aim is to trace the origin of the product by creating a bridge between the product and its owner for the purpose of identification. It does so by defining the nature and the quality of the goods with the help of a name, phrase, logo, colour combination, words, designs, symbols, shapes, images, etc. or a combination of all the elements.

The Trademarks Act, 1999 protects the trademark of goods and services. The Act also lays down special provisions relating to collective Marks and certification trademarks.  It prohibits their misuse by allowing proprietors to register their trademarks and get protection against infringement of their trademarks. The registration certificate of Trademark issued under sec. 23 (2) of the Trademarks Act, 1999 could not be used in legal proceedings as indicated in Rule 56(2) of the Trademarks Rules, 2017 and for this purpose a certificate issued under sec. 137 shall be used.

The Act not only makes provisions specifically for the protection of registered marks but also states the remedy for the protection of marks which are not registered under the Act but have attained a goodwill. In such cases the owner of the mark may initiate action   passing off a.   The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks administers and oversees the registration of trademark and the allied issues.

  1. Copyright

Copyright refers to the rights granted to the creator for their original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, sound recordings and cinematograph files. Copyright spans across many domains, ranging from music, science, art, technology, literature to paintings, songs, books, films, computer and software

The Copyright Act, 1957 provides the legal framework for protection of the creator’s expression of ideas and prevents its exploitation. The law of copyrights protects expression and not the ideas itself and the same is specified under Sec. 102(b) of the Act .The Act, 1957 provides different terms of copyright for different works under Chapter V for e.g. Sec.22 safeguards the copyright granted in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (except as may be provided under the Act specifically) till 60 years after the death of the author. For instance, an artist’s painting is protected by the copyright for the entirety of his life in addition to 60 years post his death.

  1. Patents

Patents grant exclusive rights to the owner of any invention for its manufacturing, use and marketing on the condition that it complies with the law. They provide patent holders the right to decide the terms of how their invention is to be used. On one hand the patentee enjoys exclusive rights with respect to the invention and on the other hand such grant benefits public in the form of fruits of his invention. Mere discovery of scientific principles cannot be patented.

The Patents Act , 1970 provides special rights to the inventor or patent holder to receive benefits from his invention. The law forbids the manufacturing, use and the marketing of their inventions/products by others without the permission of the patent holder. The act grants protection in the form of a patent for 20 years from the date of application. The goal is to encourage innovation in fields of science and technology, research and industrial development. However balancing the interests of general public, the Act also provides for Compulsory licensing for the manufacture and sell of the patented product in the event it is not made available to the public at reasonable and affordable price or the reasonable requirements of the Public under sec. 84 and sec. 92. The Act therefore on one hand safeguards the rights of patentee and on the other hand ensures that sufficient provisions are made for its utilization for general public.

  1. Geographical Indication

Geographical Indicators are indications given to goods or products that correspond to a particular geographical town, region, country or origin. The status identifies the good because it possesses qualities or a reputation of the place it has originated from. It establishes a link between the product and the specific region it originates from. It gives recognition to the reputation of the particular place, its producers as well as their goods.

The Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 was implemented with the intention to safeguard the geographical indications of India. Famous examples of these are the Puneri Pagdi, Mysore Silk, Darjeeling Tea and the Chanderi Saree.

  1. Plant Variety

Also known as the ‘Plant Breeder’s Right’, Plant Variety is a form of IP that protects a new plant variety by granting its breeder the right under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001. The Government intends to protect both commercial plant breeders and farmers by recognizing their efforts in providing, improving and conserving plant resources. It also lays down the condition for the exploitation of such protected variety with prior consent of the breeder. The Act also safeguards the interests of researchers and allows them to use plant variety for the purpose of research and experiment. However, the authorisation of the breeder of a registered variety is required where the repeated use of such variety as a parental line is necessary for commercial production of such other newly developed variety. The Act also makes provisions for compulsory licensing under certain circumstances for the benefits of general public.

  1. Industrial Design

Dealing with the aesthetic aspect of a product, Industrial designs is one of the forms of IP that protects the works that feature the  design of any article. It comprises of shape, configuration, pattern, lines or colours in 2-D or 3-D or combination of one or more features.

The Designs Act, 2000 governs the grant of copyright on the designs once registered under the Act and protects such registered designs from piracy. Once a design is registered under the Act, the registered proprietor is granted a copyright in the design for ten years from registration. Sec. 22 of the Act, 2000 lists down the acts that shall amount to piracy of a design. The proviso to the section also provides that for the purposes of piracy, the maximum amount recoverable under any one design shall not exceed Rs. 50,000/- where the act of piracy comprised of mere application of registered design to a product.

  1. Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits

Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits are also protected under The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout- Design Act, 2000.


The law of Intellectual Property Rights provides a protected and dedicated legal space for a wide variety of creators and inventors, engaged in an array of fields. It defines the framework for granting economic benefits if their work is used for commercial purposes. In addition to this, IPR advocates protection for creative and scientific expression by simultaneously empowering their owners. Balancing the interests of the creators and the public, IPR promotes a liberated and secured environment for all .