Intellectual Property Rights: Intricacies & the future

Intellectual Property Rights
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With the rising globalisation, “Intellectual Capital” has emerged as one of the most important wealth generators in today’s worldwide trade. Intellectual property rights have become increasingly visible on India’s legal horizon, as seen by new statutes and court pronouncements. India ratified the treaty establishing the World Trade Organization, which includes the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Indian intellectual property (IP) statutes, enforcement mechanisms, and dispute resolution methods are now fully TRIPS-compliant. India has laws covering various areas of intellectual property as enumerated herein below:

  • Trade Marks
  • Patents
  • Copyrights and Related Rights
  • Information Technology and Cyber crimes
  • Data Protection
  • Industrial Designs
  • Geographical Indications
  • Plant Varieties
  • Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits

Broadly, the following acts deal with the protection of intellectual property:

  1. The Patents Act, 1970
  2. Trade Marks Act, 1999
  3. The Copyright Act, 1957
  4. The Information Technology Act, 2000
  5. The Designs Act, 2000
  6. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Act, 2001
  7. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
  8. The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000

Meaning of property

In the case of Jilubhai Nanbhai Khachar v. the State of Gujarat, the Supreme Court of India (SC) stated that “property, in legal words, denotes a collection of rights that are recognised and protected by the law.” It also encompasses other significant rights and interests, most notably the right of ownership and exclusive right to a thing, the right to get rid of that object in every legal way conceivable, or the right to possess/use it, as well as the right to prevent others from interfering with it in any way.”

The Supreme Court ruled in R.C. Cooper v. Union of India that property is “the highest right of a man; it includes estates, ownership, interests incorporeal things, and it also includes rights such as trademarks, copyrights, patents, etc. Different types of property are moveable/immovable, tangible/intangible and corporeal/incorporeal.


The shift in patent law and, more broadly, in intellectual property rights (IPR) has been very contentious. Many Indian authorities have stated that a stronger IPR regime will likely work against India’s goals, which are centred on ensuring that the great majority of its population has access to basic products. Given that foreign multinational companies (MNCs) are at the technological frontier in most industries, they have also claimed that strong IPR may result in rent transfers to MNCs, many of which are headquartered in the world’s most advanced countries.

IPR advocates, on the other hand, say that strong IPR will push MNCs to introduce more advanced products in India or transfer technology, some of which may also benefit domestic enterprises. As a result, they suggest that strong intellectual property rights in developing countries like India would likely drive global innovation and more rapid economic growth.

How IPR Affects India’s Different Interests

On one end of the scale, India has a strong, albeit modest, scientific infrastructure, which includes the Center of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its affiliated institutions. Although the CSIR’s goal is to pursue science that has a worldwide influence, it also seeks to contribute to India’s economic development by commercialising its discoveries.

CSIR labs have made important contributions to India’s scientific output. Although the CSIR actively helped the indigenisation of foreign technology when India’s IPR became pro-access in 1970, a strong IPR may have accelerated its ability to commercialise its emerging technology into civilian products that benefit the larger Indian public. Stronger intellectual property rights may thus result in greater welfare by hastening the commercialization of indigenous knowledge.

In the article “The Changing Contours of Innovation in India“, Professor Rishikesha Krishnan claims that, while scientific labs remain at the vanguard of innovation in India, multinational corporations (MNCs) have shifted a significant amount of R&D to nations such as India, which have seen significant expansions in R&D staff. According to academic research, strong IPRs have a significant impact on the type of R&D that MNCs may pursue in India.

Stronger IPRs will certainly enhance not only the level of R&D activity in India, but also R&D that will result in products and services geared at Indian consumers. After all, incentives are required for inventors. All else being equal, a robust IPR regime in India may entice MNCs to conduct R&D directed at Indian markets.

An exclusive right to an innovation that is linked to intellectual property rights

If someone produces a concept that is identical to an earlier idea developed by someone else, the idea will be formally outlawed, and the patent will be issued to the first inventor by excluding others and only enabling him to import, use, or sell through a legitimate contract. It is founded on the concept that two minds cannot develop the same thoughts since the growth of an idea is dependent on the developer’s personality. However, in natural science, two minds can create the identical ideas because creation is founded on natural rules rather than the personalities of two different persons.

The future

During the last 25 years, remarkable technological and cultural revolutions have influenced Intellectual Property rights management, and many experts think that IP legal processes are not keeping up with today’s technologies. When it comes to how the industry will adapt over the next decade, some of these important changes will have a big impact on IP practises:

Data Driven

Over the next decade, the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) will improve IP practises by analysing the value of IPRs, evaluating the performance of patent prosecution with the use of algorithms, enhancing predictability, and lowering costs for IPR owners. Algorithms can also be “trained” to assess and maintain IP portfolios, making them less expensive and less prone to error. This is especially true in the field of patent prosecution and filing, where expenses have historically been greater.

Simultaneously, as systems become more intelligent and creative, the employment of AI will unavoidably raise new problems. The place of machine-created inventions under IP will have to be addressed by courts and legislators.

Omni-IP management

Integration of technology into practise, including the usage of big data, will become the standard in the future decade. Intelligent software will become a regular tool for conducting business in a fraction of the time that an attorney currently requires. While it may not be able to replace an attorney’s knowledge, robots and algorithms will soon be able to perform a range of duties such as searching for infringing material and preparing patent applications. Because of the human factor, it is doubtful that AI will replace the necessity for an IP attorney.

Creativity is a product of the human intellect, but machine learning is fast increasing, and the technology that increases a lawyer’s value may eventually replace some of them. While many IP attorneys believe that AI will not jeopardise their jobs, machine learning may eventually replace them.

The trademark arena will become even more crowded

With trademark registrations at an all-time high, securing effective global protection is becoming practically difficult. Due to the possibility of confusion with previously registered marks, brand owners may face further registration challenges. As a result, practitioners must be well-versed on tactics for novel applications in order to maximise their chances of success.

Over the next ten years, trademark practitioners will be confronted with an ever-increasing irritation, with an uncertain outcome. The experts also advocate for increased usage requirements for registered marks, secondary meaning criteria for new marks, and consideration of the crowded field during litigation. They also note that these solutions are only usable if everyone agrees that the supply of trademarks is limited.

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