Intellectual property rights in India: Encouraging innovations

India ranked at 46th position in Global Innovation Index, 2021 published by the World Intellectual property Organization (WIPO). This ranking represents the innovation trend or ability of innovation of the people in a country.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) are the rights given to individual persons over their innovative creations.

The intellectual property rights in India like the literary, artistic, cinematographic, dramatic and musical works and names and symbols used in commerce gets protected under India’s intellectual property (IP) laws.

It provides the work’s owner or creator with an exclusive right over his work for a certain period.

Objectives Of Intellectual Property Laws In India

The violation of IP laws results in loss of innovation and production of new works. The infringement of IP laws in India could lead to a loss in business, misappropriation and unfair competition.

These IP laws have some objectives to achieve the required goals of improving the country’s innovative capacity. These objectives also aid the government in policy-making related to intellectual properties. These are:-

  1. Strong legislative framework:- One of the main objectives of the IP laws is to provide for stringent laws and policies concerning IP rights to balance the interest of original owners or creators in the public interest.
  2. Awareness of IPR:- To create awareness among all sections of society about the social, cultural, economic advantages of IP laws
  3. Healthy market competition:- Aim of IP laws is also to create healthy competition among the business houses in the market and strengthen the business financially.
  4. Strengthen human capital:- It also aims to strengthen and expand the institutions, human resources, teaching, training, intelligence and skill development, etc.
  5. Implementation and adjudication:- It strengthens the implementation mechanism and adjudication of IPR infringements to protect IP rights better
  6. Administration and management:- It rationalises the IPR administration and service-oriented mechanism.
  7. Fair market access opportunities:- It provides the citizens with fair access to market opportunities with the aid of IPR to achieve a more significant objective.
  8. Gain commercial benefits:- To catalyze and acquire the commercial benefits of IP rights.

Laws governing various areas of Intellectual property

Some main types of intellectual property laws are recognized in India to grant protection to all these literary, artistic, musical, dramatic and cinematographic works. These are:-

Other IP related rules and regulations dealing with the protection of intellectual property rights in India and their implementation includes:

  • Copyright rules, 1958
  • The patent rules, 2003
  • The patents (amendment) rules, 2012
  • The patents (amendment) rules, 2014
  • The patents (amendment) rules, 2016
  • The patents (amendment) rules, 2017
  • The patents (amendment) rules, 2021
  • The designs (amendment) rules, 2008
  • The designs (amendment) rules, 2014
  • The designs (amendment) rules, 2021
  • Trademark rules, 2002
  • Trademark rules, 2017
  • The geographical Indications of goods (registration & protection) rules, 2002.
  • The geographical Indications of goods (registration & protection) (amendment) rules, 2020.
  • Information technology (certifying authorities), 2000
  • The international copyright order, 1999
  • Circular on implementing the intellectual property rights (imported goods) enforcement rules, 2007
  • Semiconductor integrated circuits layout-design rules, 2001
  • The protection of plant varieties and farmers’ right act, 2011

Types of Intellectual Property

The common types of intellectual properties recognized in our Indian system are:-


It includes all those literary, artistic, musical, etc. works such as books, songs, films, web contents, etc.

A copyright owner has the exclusive right to commercialize, publish or reproduce his literary, artistic, musical, or other creative work. Copyright work is always in a tangible form.

A person using a copyrighted work for educational purposes or storing that work for personal use and without acquiring any monetary benefits from those acts then, that act is not considered a copyright violation.

The copyright act, 1957 governs Copyrights read with copyright rules, 2013.

A copyright is valid for the duration, which is the original owner’s lifetime and 60 years after his death.

Cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publications, works of government and international organizations are protected for 60 years from the year following publication date.


It protects signs, symbols, logos, taglines, words or sounds used for distinguishing the products and services of one commercial house from that of its competitor.

In other words, trademarks are another form of intellectual property that differentiate the products and services of one company from that of another by its logo, symbol or tagline.

It promotes healthy business practices by protecting customers from getting deceived by indistinguishable and obscure symbols of two companies.

Trademark protection grants the owner to commercialize his products and services and provide exclusivity to its products and services.

Any person getting a company franchisee to sell its products and services to its customer doesn’t acquire trademark rights.

These rights are protected under the trademark act, 1999.

A trademark right is valid up to 10 years from filing the application date, and it can get renewed every ten years for an indefinite period.


It protects designs such as computer models, drawings, fashion industry designs of clothes, shoes, or anything else that comes under designs.

In other words, it protects industrial designs made distinctly either in terms of shape, size, colour, etc., with the motive to commercialize, enhance, or increase its aesthetic value. The design act, 2000 governs it.

When a design gets registered, the registered owner has a right over the use of that work for ten years from the date of its registration.


It protects the inventions created and brought into use for commercial purposes. It prevents an invention from being created, used or traded for commercial purposes by any other party.

Any person who has a patent right has the right to commercialize his work or can sell his patent right or grant a license to someone else by signing an agreement under mutually agreed terms.

A work must fulfil three conditions to get patented.

  1. It must be a newly invented
  2. It should not be previously in existence in any changed form
  3. The invention should be of some use

A product, once patented, can’t be brought into commercial use without the original owner’.

A patent gets governed under the patent act, 1970 read with patent rules 2003. A patent right is valid for 20 years from the date of filing of the patent application.

Geographical Indications-

A geographical indication is given to products belonging to a particular place to depict their geographical uniqueness. The uniqueness of a product gets defined by its place of origin, the process of production or availability.

GI tags help to enhance the business with their marketability.

Geographical indications of goods (registration and protection) act 1999 govern Geographical Indications.

GI tags are valid for ten years and can be renewed for an indefinite period every ten years.

International IP agreements

The Paris Convention –

Any person belonging to a signatory state can apply for a patent or trademark in any other signatory state and get the same enforcement rights and status as citizens of that country.

The Berne Convention –

Each member state recognises the copyright of authors from other member states in the same way as the copyright of its nationals.

The Madrid Protocol –

As per this protocol, Any person can file a single trademark application at their national office to protect multiple countries.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty –

It is a central system for obtaining national patent rights in different jurisdictions through a single application.

Yet, India is not a signatory to the Hague Agreement, which allows the protection of designs in multiple countries through a single filing.

Role of Intellectual Property Appellate Board

The intellectual property appellate board(IPAB) got constituted to address the appeals against the registrar or central government. However, promulgation issued by the central government on April 4, 2021abolished this appellate board.

As per the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021, all the Intellectual property appellate boards are abolished. The functions associated with them are transferred to the commercial and high courts of the country.

The central government constituted IPAB on September 15, 2003, to hear appeals against the decisions of the Registrar under the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and the Geographical Indications of Goods Act (Registration and Protection), 1999.

In the year 2007, the jurisdiction of IPAB got extended to the Patents Act, 1970. Later through the Finance Act in 2017, it further got extended to the Copyright Act, 1957.

IPAB was created to address the issues in the IP regime through technical members possessing technical and scientific knowledge of that field.

It was the supreme authority to address cases arising from the decision taken by the registrar or central government, and it exercised its power and arbitrated those cases.

National Intellectual Property Rights Policy

The national intellectual rights policy 2016 was brought to bring all the intellectual property rights in India on a single platform.

It sets an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and reviewing. It aimed to bring all forms of intellectual property and create inter-linkage to exploit synergies between IP’s, concerned statutes, and agencies.

It proposed the establishment of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the ministry of commerce and industry to coordinate, guide and oversee the implementation of IPR’s.

The Cell for IPR Promotion & Management (CIPAM) was established as the only point of reference for implementing the objectives of this policy.

It reviews that India’s IPR policy complies with WTO’s agreement on Trade-related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Achievements of the IPR policy 2016

The new IPR policy aims to achieve some goals through its objectives, and it proved to be helpful in the same direction. Let us discuss:-

  1. Reducing redundancy- The government’s step towards reducing pendency IP application is done by augmentation of manpower, resulting in a drastic reduction in pending IP applications.
  2. Automatic issuance of electronic certificates for patents and trademarks is also introduced.

  3. Strengthening of Institutional mechanism- The administration of copyright act, 1957 and semiconductor Integrated circuits layout-design act, 2000 also gets transferred to DIPP. The copyright board also merged with the IPAB under the finance act, 2017. It enabled an integrated approach and synergy between different IP offices and acts.
  4. Improvement in GII Ranking- India’s rank in Global Innovation Index is improved from 81st in 2015 to 52nd in 2019 to 46th in 2021.
  5. Increase in patent and trademark filings- Patent filings have increased from 6326 in 2015-16 to 28,391 in 2020-21. However, trademark filing is increased to 2,55,993 in 2020-21 from the previous 65,045.
  6. Creating IPR awareness- IPR awareness programs are conducted in various institutions like schools, colleges, industries, police, customs and judiciary.
  7. IP Process and re-engineering- Patent Rules, 2003 has been amended to streamline processes and make them more user friendly.
  8. Expedited examination of patents now gets permitted on specific grounds. The shortest time to grant a patent recently has been just 81 days from filing the request for examination.

    Revamped Trade Marks Rules, 2017 have been notified on 6th March 2017.

    Nearly 200 international MoUs received from various Central Ministries/ Departments/ organizations have been vetted from an IPR angle in a time-bound manner in the past year.

    India has acceded to the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), extending copyright coverage to the internet and digital environment.

  9. Technology and Innovation Support Centres (TISCs)- In connection with the world intellectual property organization, 6 TISCs were established in various institutions across different states.
  10. IPRs in school and college curriculum- IPR is introduced as part of the syllabus in school and law colleges’ commerce stream. IPR cells have been introduced in 41 universities across all the states in India and are continuously increasing.
  11. IPR enforcement toolkit for police- To ensure protection from trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy, police officials have been provided with various toolkits in India in dealing with IP offences.


There are significant changes introduced in India’s IPR regime, resulting in effective disposal of pending IP applications and implementing India’s IP laws for various types of Intellectual property.

These changes also resulted in effective innovation steps and improved India’s ranking in the Geographical innovation index over the past few years.

The central governments’ steps in formulating a new IPR policy for promoting intellectual property rights in India and ensuring its compliance with TRIPS by WTO and other international protocols and treaties emerged India as a new face of the world in the IP field.

The scrapping of IPAB by the central government will also reduce unnecessary delays in pending cases concerning Intellectual property.

Now, the transferring of IPAB’s function to high courts and the commercial courts will result in rapid disposal of cases though it will increase the burden of these courts.


What is the objective of the Department for promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DIPP)?

The main objective of DIPP is to promote foreign technology transfer and cater to industrial development.

Are IP rights territorial in nature?

IP rights are territorial. The IP registration in India is valid only in the Indian Jurisdiction.

How can one seek trademark registration outside Indian jurisdiction?

A person can file an application for trademark registration under Madrid protocol for making the registration valid outside the jurisdiction of India.

Is it necessary to register a copyright in India?


Which convention grants copyright protection to its member countries under international copyright order among member countries internationally?

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, Universal Copyright Convention and the TRIPS Agreement by WTO protects the copyrighted work of persons residing in member countries internationally.

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