Intellectual property Rights in India

February 23, 2016
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty

Intellectual property is a product of Human Intellect and thus it should be protected by the law.

There are two different forms in which Intellectual Property Laws can be categorised:

1. Literary and Artistic work which is regulated by the copyrights law and

2. Industrial Property which can be categorised under various laws, namely:

  • Patent Law
  • Trademark Law
  • Industrial Design Law
  • Layout Design Law
  • Geographical Indication Law
  • Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Law
  • Biological Diversity Law

Majorly the following three types are the most essential lot of intellectual property:

Patents Act, 1970

A patent is described as an invention for which the inventor claims the exclusive right. The term Invention relates a process or product or both which involves an inventive step and it should be capable of Industrial Application. An invention can be patentable if it is new, useful, not obvious and pertains to patentable subject matter. Application for the same has to be filed in order to get the invention patented.

A patent can be obtained for a term of 20 years. Priority is given to the applicant who files for the patent first. The date of patent is the date of the application for patent. The applicant has to ensure payment of the patent fee for all years.

Apart from this patent rights are territorial in nature. It is possible that the invention doesn’t get patent in one country but does in the other one. Same applies for the grant of patent as well.

Trademark Act, 1999

A Trademark can be a symbol, logo, word, sound, color, design, or other device that is used to identify a business or a product in commerce.

TM is used as a symbol where intent is to use application filed for product.

SM is used as a symbol where intent is to use application filed for services.

R (within a circle) is used for Registered Trademark.

Here also application has to be filed first for search and then for registration, examination will be done, advertisement of trademark will be done, opposition will be filed and certificate will be issued pursuant to all the compliance.

Trademark is valid for 10 years and can b renewed further. Service Mark rights are reserved for 17 years.

Copyright Act, 1957

A Copyright is a right which grants protection to unique expression of Ideas. The work which is to be copyrighted should be original i.e. it should be originated with the author. Copyright protects the expression of an idea and not the idea itself. Literary works, Films, Dramatics, Musicals, Artistic work and Sound recordings are covered.

Application has to be filed to obtain the copyright for the work. The copyright lasts for Author’s lifetime + 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies, 50 years for films and sound recordings, 25 years for typographical arrangements of a published edition. It will expire on the 31st of December of the last calendar year of protection.


Any reproduction, use, distribution, performance, etc. of the work without permission of the owner is infringement of the owner’s right. Identical or substantial similarity is also covered. A suit can be filed against the same infringement. Punishments are up to 3 years.


These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.

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