“IPR Protection of Technological Innovations in India: Provisions, Precedents and Processes”

Author: Sankalp Vashistha Law Student at (ICFAI UNIVERSITY)

Edited By: Naman Jain Law Student at Galgotias University

Introduction

Intellectual property rights (IPR) provide individuals and organizations with legal protection for their inventive and creative efforts by treating intellectual creations as intangible property for a predetermined period of time. These opportunities assume an urgent part in enabling imaginative work and driving steady improvement by offering makers acknowledgment and monetary prizes. In India, intellectual property rights (IPR) include patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, geographical indications, plant varieties, and industrial designs. Key guidelines like the Licenses Showing of 1970, the Copyright Exhibition of 1957, and the Brand Name Showing of 1999, nearby critical court choices, spread out the genuine framework for safeguarding these honors. To protect veritable advancements, the procurement of licensed innovation privileges (IPR) requires explicit advances and prerequisites. This makes it simpler to share information, advance innovation, and advance improvement all in all.

Keywords: Intellectual property rights (IPR), Legal protection, Patent, Copyright, Trademark

What is IPR?

IPRs are legal rights provided to a person’s intelligence that safeguard the creations of their minds as intangible property for a definite period.  If the thoughts and tough work of the creator are not protected, then the concerned originator will not get benefits for their tough work and will grow dissatisfied, which will finally result in the weakening of research and development. If the intellectual property of each member is protected, it will result in knowledge sharing, technology transmission, and cooperation among businesses and organizations, contributing to overall development.

To encourage the development of technology in different areas, the government of India has taken many enlightened steps by allowing intellectual property rights to creators. In today’s fast-changing world with high levels of innovative technology competition, IPR plays a crucial role in safeguarding the growth and development of the state.

Kinds of intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights are a prominent factor in inspiring and encouraging research and development. In India, there are seven (7) types of intellectual property rights granted to individuals to provide acknowledgement for their tough work and inspire new developments. They are as follows:

  • Patents: Protects thoughts and developments and provides the owner with a special right to use and sell the technology for a certain period.
  • Copyrights: Protect the concepts and novel works of authors and creators for their unique work, it includes written works, music, art, etc. The holders of copyright have special rights to display, distribute and reproduce their work.
  • Trademarks: Protect designs and symbols that provide distinctiveness for their goods and services; they distinguish company products from those of their competitors.
  • Trade secrets: Safeguard processes, formulas, and customer lists that give a company a competitive advantage and may be licensed or sold.
  • Geographical indications: Safeguard the titles of the products from particular geographical areas and origins.
  • Plant varieties:safeguard new varieties of plants that are uniform or distinct from others.
  • Industrial designs: Protect the visual presence of the product, like shapes, size, colour, etc.

Key Provision related to IPR in India about Technology

  • The Patents Act, 1970

This is the foundation of patent law in India, proposed to protect creations and grant exclusive rights to creators. The Act was amended in 2005, to comply with the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement.

  • Section 3[1]: This section describes what are not considered as developments under the Act. For example, it excludes mere innovations of scientific principles or the formulation of abstract theories from patentability. However, technological advancements that show major advancements in utility can be patented.
  • Section 6[2]: The true and first inventor, their assignee, or the legal representative of the deceased originator remain among the parties who can file an application for a patent.
  • Section 10[3]: This section defines the requirements for a patent requirement, including the description of the invention in detail and the methods that explain how it will be carried out.
  • Section 25[4]: This section provides a mechanism for opposing the grant of a patent. Opposition can be filed on numerous grounds, some of which can be deficiency of novelty or inventive step, safeguarding that only genuine technological novelties are protected.
  • The Copyright Act of 1957

It is a law that safeguards different types of works, not just books and paintings. It also covers things like software and digital content.

  • As per Section 2(o)[5], it says that “literary work” includes computer programs, tables, and collections. This means that software is protected under this act.
  • Section 13[6] of this act defines what all protected under the copyright act. It contains original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, as well as films and sound recordings.
  • Section 14[7] provides the list of the rights that are given to owners of the copyright. They can make copies, use, and distribute the work. For software, this includes controlling copying, distribution, and modification.
  • The Trademark Act, 1999

It is important to protect technical trademarks and assist consumers in identifying various tech products and services.

  • Section 2(zb)[8] defines a trademark as a visual mark that distinguishes one person’s goods or services from others. It may include logos, titles, or even particular shapes associated with technology products.
  • Section 9[9] of the act defines the grounds for rejecting registration. This includes marks that are not novel or innovative characters, as well as those marks that may deceive or confuse the public.
  • Section 29[10] of the act defines trademark protection, which is important for technology-related companies to protect their brand from unlawful usage.

Landmark Cases

  • Novartis AG vs Union of India[11]: This case has a major role in the Indian patent system. The Supreme Court of India rejected the patent application for the medicine ‘Glivec’ used in cancer, highlighting the importance of a higher level of originality and the need to avoid patent ‘evergreening’. This decision had significant consequences for the patenting of pharmaceutical and biotech inventions.
  • Bajaj Auto Ltd vs. TVS Motor Company Limited[12]: In this case, a dispute arose regarding a patent between two major companies for applying twin-spark-plug engine technology. The Court observed that cases dealing with IP frequently revolved around temporary injunctions, which had been pending for years, irrespective of the lengthy nature of these cases. To speed up the goal of IP debates, the High Court coordinated that hearings on trademarks, patents, and copyrights ought to be led on an everyday premise. In these cases, it required that final judgments be delivered within four months of filing. The Court additionally educated all courts and councils across India to comply rigorously with these rules for quick removal of IP cases.
  • The Yahoo[13]! decision of the Delhi High Court, Vs. In India’s intellectual property law, the landmark case of Akash Arora & Anr focuses on cybersquatting. The court decided that domain names are just as useful as trademarks and should be protected in the same way. In this situation, the offended party’s area name ‘Hurray!’ and the ‘Yahoo India!’ of the defendant. Were discovered to be nearly identical and phonetically similar, likely causing users of the internet to misunderstand. The court rejected the defendants’ disclaimer because it did not adequately address the nature of the internet and prevent confusion. It also said that, despite being a word in the dictionary, “Yahoo” had become unique because of its connection to the plaintiff. In Rediff Communication vs. Cyber Booth & Anr[14], the Bombay High Court echoed this sentiment and emphasized the value of a domain name for businesses.
  • Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson vs. Intex Technologies (India) Ltd.[15]: In this case, Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) and FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non- discriminatory) conditions were challenged. The Delhi High Court gave an injunction in favour of Ericsson emphasizing the implementation of SEPs in India, and establishing a precedent for upcoming technology-related matters.
  • In the case of Bayer Corporation vs. Union of India[16], Bayer argued that Cipla’s “SORANIB” infringed on its patent and sought to prevent it from receiving marketing approval under the Drugs Act. Bayer asserted that a mechanism preventing the market approval of patented drugs was established by Sections 2 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and 48 of the Indian Patent Act of 1970. Additionally, Bayer classified “SORANIB” as a “spurious drug” in accordance with the 1940 Drugs Act. The Delhi HC excused Bayer’s disputes, confirming there is no medicine patent linkage part in India and that patent infringement ought to be exhibited in court, not accepted. The court emphasized that a link like this would have a negative effect on health policy. It likewise decided that “SORANIB” was not false, as it needed components of impersonation or misdirection, and forced a significant expense of Rs. 6.75 million to Bayer to stop other attempts of this kind.

Process for filling an IPR in India

  • Patent
  • Section 6[17] of the Patent Act, expresses that anybody professing to be the valid and first creator of an innovation, his trustee, or the lawful delegate of a departed individual who was qualified to make such an application, is qualified to document a patent application.
  • Section 7[18] examines the strategy and arrangement of the application. It requires the submission of a prescribed application form in addition to a provisional or complete specification.
  • Section 11A[19], the patent application must be published 18 months after the filing date. Unless an early publication request is made, the application is available to the public.
  • Section 12[20] gives an explanation of the sales for an evaluation. In no less than four years of the need date of the application, a solicitation should be made before the considerable assessment can start.
  • Section 43[21] an applicant will be granted a patent once all Act requirements have been met and it will be recorded in the register of patents, as stated in Section 43.
  • Section 53[22] every granted patent lasts twenty years from the filing date of the application.
  • Trademark
  • Section 18[23] any person who asserts that he or she is the owner of a trademark that he or she uses or proposes to use may submit a formal registration application.
  • Section 19[24] the Enlistment Centre is expected to investigate the application to check whether it consents to the Demonstration’s prerequisites and to decide if the brand name can be enrolled.
  • Section 20[25] mandates the publication of an advertisement for the application in the Trademarks Journal (Sections 20-21).
  • Anyone who believes that the trademark registration would harm them has three months to file an opposition under Section 21[26].
  • Section 23[27] (Registration and Duration) addresses the trademark’s registration after all objections and oppositions have been resolved.
  • According to Section 25[28], trademark registration is valid for ten years but can be renewed indefinitely.
  • Copyright
  • Section 45[29], copyright registration is voluntary. The Registrar of Copyrights can be contacted with a completed application and the appropriate fee.
  • Section 22[30] states that literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic works are protected for the author’s lifetime plus sixty years.
  • Depending on the type of work, various durations are defined in other sections, such as Section 26[31] for cinematographic films and Section 27[32] for sound recordings.

Conclusion

Intellectual Property Rights, or IPRs, are essential for fostering innovation and safeguarding the creative and inventive output of individuals and organizations. By treating these intellectual creations as intangible assets, intellectual property rights (IPR) provide creators with the legal protection they need to gain recognition and financial rewards. India’s comprehensive IPR insurance framework covers licenses, copyrights, brand names, proprietary innovations, topographical signs, plant collections, and contemporary plans. This protection is based on important laws like the Patents Act of 1970, the Copyright Act of 1957, and the Trademark Act of 1999. The in-depth procedure for protecting intellectual property rights ensures that genuine innovations are recognized and protected, encouraging knowledge sharing, technological advancement, and overall development. In addition to supporting individual creators, this legal framework also encourages economic expansion and fosters a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration.

REFERENCES

  1. Books / Commentaries / Journals Referred
    1. Law Relating to Intellectual Property by Dr. B.L. Wadehra (15th edition)
    2. Intellectual Property by Elizabeth Verkey (2015 edition)
  2. Online Articles / Sources Referred
    1. https://blog.ipleaders.in/role-of-ipr-in-securing-growth-of-technology-in-indian-society/#What_are_intellectual_property_rights
    2. https://ipbulletin.in/contemporary-challenges-and-threats-to-intellectual-property-rights/
    3. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/india-s-overall-ranking-on-ip-protection-improves-says-uscc-report-122022401676_1.html
    4. https://blog.ipleaders.in/ipr-description/
  3. Cases Referred
    1. Novartis AG vs Union of India
    2. Bajaj Auto Ltd vs. TVS Motor Company Limited
    3. Vs. Akash Arora & Anr
    4. Rediff Communication vs. Cyber Booth & Anr
    5. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson vs. Intex Technologies (India) Ltd.
    6. Bayer Corporation vs. Union of India
  4. Statutes Referred
    1. TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999
    2. THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957
    3. THE PATENTS ACT, 1970

[1] THE PATENTS ACT, 1970, § 3, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 1970 (India).

[2] THE PATENTS ACT, 1970, § 6, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 1970 (India).

[3] THE PATENTS ACT, 1970, § 10, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 1970 (India).

[4] THE PATENTS ACT, 1970, § 25, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 1970 (India).

[5] THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957, § 2o, No. 14, Acts of Parliament, 1957 (India).

[6] THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957, § 13, No. 14, Acts of Parliament, 1957 (India).

[7] THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957, § 14, No. 14, Acts of Parliament, 1957 (India).

[8] TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999, § 2zb, No. 47, Acts of Parliament, 1999 (India).

[9] TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999, § 9, No. 47, Acts of Parliament, 1999 (India).

[10] TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999, § 29, No. 47, Acts of Parliament, 1999 (India).

[11] Novartis AG vs Union of India, AIR 2013 SC1311.

[12] Bajaj Auto Ltd vs. TVS Motor Company Limited, JT 20019 (12) SC 103.

[13] Inc. Vs. Akash Arora & Anr, 1999 (19) PTC 201 (Del).

[14] Rediff Communication vs. Cyber Booth & Anr, 2000 PTC 209.

[15] Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson vs. Intex Technologies (India) Ltd, MANU/DE/2188/2023.

[16] Bayer Corporation vs. Union of India, 162(2009) DLT 371.

[17] THE PATENTS ACT, 1970, § 6, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 1970 (India).

[18] THE PATENTS ACT, 1970, § 7, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 1970 (India).

[19] THE PATENTS ACT, 1970, § 11A, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 1970 (India).

[20] THE PATENTS ACT, 1970, § 12, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 1970 (India).

[21] THE PATENTS ACT, 1970, § 43, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 1970 (India).

[22] THE PATENTS ACT, 1970, § 53, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 1970 (India).

[23] TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999, § 18, No. 47, Acts of Parliament, 1999 (India).

[24] TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999, § 19, No. 47, Acts of Parliament, 1999 (India).

[25] TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999, § 20, No. 47, Acts of Parliament, 1999 (India).

[26] TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999, § 21, No. 47, Acts of Parliament, 1999 (India).

[27] TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999, § 23, No. 47, Acts of Parliament, 1999 (India).

[28] TRADE MARKS ACT, 1999, § 25, No. 47, Acts of Parliament, 1999 (India).

[29] THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957, § 45, No. 14, Acts of Parliament, 1957 (India).

[30] THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957, § 22, No. 14, Acts of Parliament, 1957 (India).

[31] THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957, § 26, No. 14, Acts of Parliament, 1957 (India).

[32] THE COPYRIGHT ACT, 1957, § 27, No. 14, Acts of Parliament, 1957 (India).