Importance and Types of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
The phrase intellectual property, sometimes known as IP, refers to the creations of the human mind, exclusive to a single person. Intellectual property includes inventions, literature and artistic masterpieces, designs, emblems, titles, and pictures utilised in commerce and business. Such creations are prone to plagiarism or copying. To protect them from plagiarism, the creators or owners of such property are vested with several rights called Intellectual Property Rights.
Meaning of Intellectual Property Rights(IPR)
All the rights linked with intangible assets possessed by an individual or business to safeguard such assets against unlawful use or exploitation are called intellectual property rights. Such rights are granted to the creators of intellectual property so that their creations cannot be used by others without their permission. These include:
1. Right to reproduce such work
2. Right to sell such work
3. Right to create other forms of such work, etc.
Intellectual Property Rights are used to convey the monopoly of the holder over the usage of the specified property or items for a definite time period. Any violation of these rights attracts severe penalties.
Why is Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Important?
Intellectual Property Rights are important because of the following reasons:
1. Boost Business Growth: There are chances of business ideas/strategies being stolen by rival businesses in order to capture the firm’s market share and decelerate business growth. Therefore, small and medium enterprises need to protect their exclusive goods and services because losing out on market share and potential customers can be very harmful to such firms in the beginning stages. Thus, IPRs help such firms by preserving their ideas.
2. Easing the Marketing Process: Intellectual property is an essential tool for creating an identity for a business. It helps a firm in distinguishing its own products and services in the market from those of others; thus, encouraging easier reach to the target customers, thereby making the whole marketing process very seamless.
3. Safeguarding Unique Ideas: Many a time people try to copy the creation of others for their own commercial profit. It becomes essential to protect such ideas and creations from rival parties to ensure exclusivity and uniqueness in one’s own creation.
4. Raising Funds: Any Intellectual Property Right owner is free to monetise and commercialise his Intellectual Property assets through sale, licensing and use as a guarantee for debt financing. Intellectual Property Rights can also be used to raise funds through public borrowings, loans, and government subsidies.
5. Enhancing Export Opportunities: A business with registered IPRs can use its brands and designs to market its goods and services in other markets too. It means that a business with registered IPRs can tap into franchising agreements with foreign companies or export their patented products.
Types of Intellectual Property Rights(IPR)
The different types of Intellectual Property Rights include:
Copyright refers to the right to “not copy”. It is a right pertaining to Intellectual property such as literature, art, music, sound recording, and cinematography. Copyright prohibits the unauthorised use of the content, including acts such as the reproduction and distribution of copies of the subject matter. Copyright enables the protection of work automatically as soon as the work comes into existence. The registration of the copyright, though not mandatory, is essential to exercise the right in case of an infringement.
A trademark is any word, name, and symbol, or a combination of words, names, and symbols that lets us identify the goods made by an individual, company, or organisation and also differentiates such goods from those of other parties. Examples of trademarks include the Apple logo, LG logo, Dell logo, Audi logo, etc. There are many kinds of trademarks available to a goods/service provider in India such as Product marks, Service marks, Collective marks, Certification marks, Shape marks, Pattern marks, and Sound marks. The registration of a trademark, though not mandatory, is essential to establish exclusive rights over such marks.
3. Geographical Indication:
A geographical indication is used to identify and distinguish agricultural, natural, or manufactured products from one geographical location to another. Manufactured products further entail handicrafts, industrial goods, foodstuffs, etc. Such indications play a very important role in highlighting the various components of our heritage, and collective goodwill of a certain geographical region, that has been created over a period of time.
For example, many food items such as fruits and other things like wool, yarn, etc., come with labels on their packages that specify the state or region they have been cultivated in or manufactured in so as to reap the benefits of their goodwill, like Darjeeling is famous for its tea, Nagpur is famous for its oranges, Kashmir for its Pashmina wool, etc.
It is a right conferred upon the inventors of a certain device or entity. Patents are conferred only upon inventions and not the discovery of a phenomenon. Invention here refers to coming up with a device or an idea with your own mind, whereas discovery means simply getting to know and find out something that already exists in the universe. The distinction between discovery and invention can be understood with the following example: Isaac Newton discovered gravity when he saw an apple falling from a tree while Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. In this case, the telephone can be patented for being an innovation, but not the gravitational laws.
Nowadays customers face an enormous choice of products, including many that offer the same basic functionality. So they will tend to choose the one with the design they find the most attractive within their price range. Industrial products and handmade goods are the primary entities that use design laws. These include cars, telephones, kitchen utensils, electrical appliances, etc. Such rights entitle the right holder to control the commercial production, import, and sale of products with the protected design.
6. Plant Variety:
Animal and plant breeders also enjoy special rights over the species/varieties of flora and fauna bred by them. Some parties argue that such varieties are a result of a natural phenomenon; however, they are usually the representatives of gene combinations and skillful natural selection. A number of laws govern the rights available to plant varieties and their breeders, the primary ones being- The Plant Variety Protection Act, 1970, and The Utility Patent Act, 1985.
7. Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design:
Semiconductors are an important part of a computer chip, designed to perform an electronic circuitry function. The term Semiconductor Layout Design refers to the design or layout of transistors and other elements involved in circuit work in computers. Special rights are conferred for the protection of semiconductor integrated circuits layout- designs so that rival companies do not copy the design and sell it as their own.
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