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How to protect your IP?

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to assets that are intangible in nature, more particularly known as “creations of mind” that are given exclusive rights of protect for certain duration. An Intellectual property can be created by business owners, entrepreneurs, creative artists, innovators, etc. The protection of intellectual property is a major question posed by all. The intellectual property can be protected in the following ways:

  • Patents :

    A patent is an exclusive right granted by the government under Patents Act, 1970 over one’s invention for certain amount of time in exchange for full disclosure of the invention. It is granted to the owner of the invention that prevents others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without his authorization. A patentable invention may be a product or a process that provides a technical solution to a problem. The duration of the exclusive right is 20 years from the date of filing the patent. The owner can sell; license the patent to third- parties. For an invention to be patentable, it must satisfy three criteria:

    1. Novelty: Under Section 2(1) (l) of the Patents Act 1970, the invention should not be known publicly, in any manner, anywhere in the world.

    2. Inventive Step: Under Section 2(1) (ja) of the Patents Act 1970, the invention must be an enhanced technical contribution over the existing state-of-the-art. It must not be obvious to a person skilled in that particular field.

    3. Industrial Application: Under Section 2(1) (ac) of the Patents Act 1970, the invention must be useful and capable of industrial application.

  • Copyrights :

    A copyright protection is accorded to original works of authorship, such as literature, music, artistic works, and computer software that are in tangible form. The copyright protection is governed by The Indian Copyright Act, 1957. It protects the expression of ideas, not the idea itself.

    The following may be protected under copyright law:

    1. Literary works (e.g., written works, source codes of computer programs)

    2. Dramatic works (e.g., scripts for films and dramas)

    3. Musical works (e.g., melodies)

    4. Artistic works (e.g., paintings, photographs)

    5. Published editions of the above works

    6. Sound recordings

    7. Films

    8. Television and radio broadcasts

    9. Cable programmes

    10. Performances

    As the holder of the copyright, one has the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, and distribute the work. A copyright registration is voluntary in nature since it exists from the moment the work is created.

  • Trademarks :

    Trademarks protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colours that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others. It also helps in indicating the source of goods. The trademarks are governed under The Trademarks Act, 1999. It can be graphically represented in the form of a logo or signature. A trademark, when registered is your property. By registering a trademark, the holder has the exclusive rights to use it, and no one else can infringe upon that right.

  • Trade Secrets :

    Trade secrets are secret information used by a business that derives its value from being secret. There is no specific law in India on Protection of Trade Secrets. Trade secrets are protected in India under Indian Contract Act, 1872, under Section 27 which provides for remedies and also restrict any person from disclosing any information which he acquires at the time of employment or through contract. However, this provision describes only civil remedy and no criminal remedies. According to this section, any information must be highly confidential to be constituted as Trade Secret. Also, no registration procedures are involved for protection of a trade secret, and there is no specified time limit within which the secret may be protected. Information is considered as the trade secret by determining whether there has been a breach of confidence:

    1. The information was confidential to the business/company.

    2. The information has been revealed in breach of a promise of confidence.

    3. The information was used in an improper way that has resulted in financial damage to the business/company.