Intellect refers to intangible things such as ideas, inventions, signs and information of an individual. Likewise Intellectual property refers to creation of mind i.e. inventions, industrial designs for article, literary and artistic work, symbols etc.
Intellectual Property Rights(IPR) are the legal rights governing the use of creations of the human minds. Intellectual Property Law regulates the creation, use and exploitation of mental or creative labor.
Intellectual property is divided into two categories:
Copyright which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films,t musical works, drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures and architectural designs. It is in a description of a thing.
Industrial property which includes inventions(patents), Trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source.
In India IPRs are protected under the following different Acts namely:
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
- The Copyright Act 1957
- The Designs Act 2000
- The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act,1999
- The Patents Act 1970
- The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’ Rights Act 2001
- The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Designs Act, 2000
- The Trade Marks Act 1999.
Apart from the aforesaid Acts, IPRs are also dealt with in two more areas namely undisclosed information or Trade Secret and the Indian Contract Act. The Contract Act does not deal with IPRs directly. It is a law dealing with contracts. However IPRs are also subject to contracts and licenses.
The Laws governing IPRs are nation specific. They differ from country to country. However with globalization it is necessary that there should be some uniformity in the IPRs and the procedure in acquiring them. It is being achieved by the different organizations through treaties and agreements.
Establishment of World Trade Organization in 1995 resulted in accepting the agreements forming the basis for international trade. All the WTO agreements apply to all WTO members i.e. a member has to accept all of them, he cannot choose. These agreements provide certain minimum standards to be observed by members and keep trade policies of the members within agreed limits. Among the other agreements is an Agreement on the Trade related aspect of intellectual property rights(TRIPS). This has an impact especially on the protection of Computer Software. We being a member of the WTO have to abide by the TRIPS.
TRIPS talks about the following kinds of intellectual property Rights
- Copyright and Related Rights
- Geographical Indications
- Industrial designs
- Layout – designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits
- Protection of Undisclosed Information (Trade Secret)
One more US Organisation WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) was established. Its purpose is to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world through co-operation among states in collaboration with other international organisations and to ensure administrative cooperation between the intellectual property associations. India is one of the 171 States of the world which are members of WIPO.