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Types of Intellectual Properties and their Significance

We have often heard about a film director or a singer or an author suing a director or a filmmaker for stealing their work and showing it as their own. The rights that they exert by taking them to the court are intellectual property rights.

After years of experiencing authors and individuals claiming content as being stolen by another, the government has come up with a perfect solution for addressing such problems. The intellectual property rights give a person the authority to question intervention on their literary or other intellectual properties by other sources. Some examples of such intellectual properties include literary works, symbols, names of companies, images, and other artistic works. Let us have a look at the types of intellectual properties and their significance.

Types of Intellectual Properties and their Importance:

The intellectual rights to hold a property or a work as their own vary, depending upon the type of property that needs to be saved from interference or from being stolen by another party. Hence, the intellectual properties are classified into four major types

1. Patents:

Patents are given for unique inventions, such as for making, selling and using something manufactured or invented by a company or an individual. New or better processes for manufacturing something, say, a drug or a consumer product are invented day in and day out. However, to preserve it from being copied, one needs to apply for a patent in the first place. Here is an example of how patents are significant for inventors to protect their rights:

As a pharma company, your laboratory would have produced a spectacular cure for, say, Cancer. Since the raw materials or chemicals involved are not inaccessible to the outside world, anyone can steal the steps involved in manufacturing the medicine and present it to the world under a different name. As a result, although you are the one to discover it in the first place, you lose the unique opportunity to sell it under your brand name. Patents can protect you from this theft of your intellectual property, and help you make a successful business out of selling the new drug.

The types of patents differ depending on the type of product you are securing from getting stolen. Patents cover three major processes – Utility, plant, and design. A patent covers processes and machinery and so on, and can protect inventions in machinery, an introduction of a new plant or architectural designs. Companies can apply for a suitable patent under the intellectual property law to secure their creations. Patents can be granted to both individuals and companies, depending upon who has been involved. Although the cost of applying for a patent can be expensive, and the whole process might take a lot of time, the end result will bring the owners of property both peace of mind and success in their endeavor. The patents are provided in accordance with the Patent Act of 1970, amended in the year 2006.

2. Trademarks:

Trademark marks the protection of a word or a symbol or any design such as a unique design applied to a product label or beside a company name. For instance, the brand name McDonald’s is accompanied by a symbol of ‘M’ in a distinctive way, and this cannot be copied by anyone else. Applications for trademarks are scrutinized all the time to prevent any duplication and thereby problems between the two companies owning them. Registrations for trademarks are done through applications to the specific authorities and according to the Trademark Act of 1999.

So, if you are in the process of setting up a company (whatever type may be), and you need a name and a ‘trademark’ for it, you need to first check if the specific trademark is available or not. This can be done by going over the lists of trademarks already registered with the government of India. The ministry of commerce and industries are authorized to provide trademarks in India.

3. Copyrights:

Copyrights are applicable for those intellectual properties which can be categorized into ‘creative’ category. Music, drama, cinema, literary works like books, and so on can be awarded and protected under Copyrights act of 1957, amended in the year 2012 in India.

Now, say, you are an author who has published a book recently and have not applied for a copyright, without understanding its significance. If a cinema director reads the book, likes your story and plans to adapt it into his next film, he or she needs to ask your permission to do so. However, if you have not protected it with a copyright, the director can very well copy the content and do it to his heart’s content with or without permission. The copyright gives you the necessary rights to fight against such intellectual theft. Not only are literary works, many others such as music, lyrics, and paintings and so on, can be applied for copyright protection under the law.

4. Designs

Under the law of Designs Act 2000, one can protect a design for a machinery or say, mobile phones through this intellectual property right. Industrial designs, such as colors, patterns, and shapes of a particular perfume bottle or jewelry, or an ornamental product can be protected using Designs act.

Industrial designs are major applicants for this intellectual right. Say, for example, you have designed a generator or machinery which can convert 300 kilograms of sugarcane into bagasse in a matter of few hours by modifying a certain part. After applying for its intellectual right through the design Act, none of the other paper industries can copy the design without paying you up for its rights.

With the growth of small-scale industries and globalization, there is a new invention, or a new literary work created every minute. The only way to protect what has taken years or months of hard work to achieve is by applying for these intellectual rights and safeguard it for a lifetime.

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About the Author: Praveen Unnikrishnan

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