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What is Intellectual Property Act? Detailed Explanation

  • Posted By SuperCA
  • On 09 August

What is Intellectual Property Act? Detailed Explanation

The first time when ‘intellectual capital’ emerged was in the twenty-first century. Intellectual capital was considered to be an important wealth driver of international trade among various countries which is due to the fast globalisation and liberalisation of the economies all over the world. In the Indian Business Fraternity, intellectual property rights have become quite irreplaceable either in the new statues or in the pronouncements that are judicial. The approval of India to the WTO agreement has made the way to comply with the TRIPS agreement (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). In this article let’s discuss the intellectual property act and laws in India and the amendments that are done due to the TRIPS agreement.


Scope of Coverage

The legal framework of India covers the listed areas of the Intellectual property.

  1. Trademarks
  2. Patents
  3. Copyrights
  4. Industrial Designs
  5. Geographical Indications
  6. Layout designs of ICs
  7. Varieties of Plants
  8. IT and cyber crime
  9. Data Protection


Administrating Regulations

The acts that are responsible for governing the intellectual property rights in India are listed below:

1.   Trade Marks Act, 1999

2.   The Patents Act, 1970 (amended in 2005)

3.   The Copyright Act, 1957

4.   The Designs Act, 2000

5.   The Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999

6.   The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, 2001

7.   The Information Technology Act, 200



The TRIPS agreement has created a path to harmonise the Indian laws that are connected to the intellectual property rights. It was implemented with the least standards to protect the IPR. A specific time period has been specified within which the countries who have taken part in the TRIPS agreement will have to change their respective laws in order to comply with the required standards.



The Indian business was first acquainted with the word ‘Patent’ in the year 1911. In 1972 another act replaced the Indian Patent and Designs Act which was passed in 1911, this act was the Patents Act, 1970. The act which is responsible for governing the patents at present is the Patents (Amendments) Act, 2005 which was amended in order to comply with the TRIPS agreement.



A trademark is a symbol that is unique in nature and helps in creating a distinction among different brands. It is also considered to be quite essential for the protection of the brand from any illegal replication. Under the protection of trademarks in the TRIPS agreement, the following are included, the safeguarding of distinguishing marks, indefinite periodical registration renewal, service mark recognition, abolition of mandatory trademark licensing etc. The new trademarks act, 1999 is in compliance with the provisions of the TRIPS agreement and provides service mark registration, multiclass application filing, recognition of well-known marks and many more.


The Madrid Protocol

When the Trademark act was amended in 2010, India was rushed into the Madrid Protocol, 2013. This led to the registration of trademarks of Indian entities with 97 countries by filing only one application form. In the same way, the foreign member countries could also register their trademarks in India.



The copyright act was introduced in 1957 and has been amended a lot of times ever since in order to comply with the international standards that are mentioned in the TRIPS agreement. This act helps in preserving the rights of individuals in the fields of painting, sculpting, drawing, engraving, photography, artistic craftsmanship, cinematography, sound recording, dramatic work, literary work and musical work.


Some of the guidelines of the Copyrights act are listed below:

  1. The work does not need to be mandatorily  qualitative as any work that is unique in nature and has only little in common with other works is eligible for this purpose.
  2. The creator of the  work will be granted copyrights for a lifetime and this will continue for almost 60 years even after his death.
  3. The creator is not only granted the authorship rights but also the rights to protect his work from any amendments.
  4. In 1984, computer programming was also included in this act.


Industrial Designs

India is granted ingredients by the TRIPS agreement that  help in safeguarding the industrial designs. The Designs Act, 2000 also aids to these requirements by safeguarding the original designs or designs that are aesthetically appealing and have the potential to be used in commercial applications.


Geographical Indications

A GI or a Geographical Indication is used on the goods which have a specified geographical origin and possess various qualities that are because of their place of origin. The rights related to geographical indications are quite valuable and need to be safeguarded from any sort of misuses by any dishonest commercial operators.

The minimum standards for safeguarding the Geographical indications and some extra wine and spirit protection have been listed in the TRIPS agreement. In respect of this, the Indian government has adopted some legislative measures by introducing the GI of Goods(Registration and Protection Act) and the GI of Goods(Registration and Protection) Rules which were launched in 1999 and 2002 respectively.

Some of the products in which geographical indications are widely used are darjeeling tea, basmati rice, feni, alleppey green cardamom, alphonso mango, kolhapuri chappal and many others.


Plant Varieties

India introduced the Plant Act in 2001 on the recommendations of the International Union for Protection of New varieties of Plants, Geneva as a part of supporting the TRIPS agreement. The Act led to the creation of an authority known as the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Authority. This authority has been given the duty to promote the development of new varieties of plants and safeguard the rights of the farmers and breeders along with the protection of plant varieties. The scheme is also focusing on enhancing the growth of the seed industry and offering seeds of better quality to the farmers.


Layout Designs of ICs

The Indian government drafted the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000 in order to ensure the compliance with TRIPS agreement. This act was focused at making sure the safeguarding of the layout designs in ICs.


Layout Designs

A layout of transistors and various other circuitry elements is known as a layout design. It also consists of the lead wires which are connecting these elements and expressed in any way in a semiconductor IC.


Semiconductor IC

According to the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000, the Semiconductor ICs are products which have transistors and various other circuitry elements which have been formed on the semiconductor material or the insulating material or inside the semiconductor material such that they are inseparable and have been designed in order to perform an electronic circuitry function.


Data Protection

Data protection laws were introduced in order to prevent the intrusions of privacy which may have been caused by the storage and dissemination of personal data. These laws are simply a collection of policies, processes and privacy laws. Personal data is referred to as the data related to an individual who can be easily identified by the government, an agency or a private organisation making use of the data.


IT and Cyber Crime

Information technology is governed by the laws of Information Technology Act, 2000. The IT Act is focused at providing a legal recognition to transactions that are carried out via the interchange of electronic data and other electronic communication methods along with the usage of alternatives of communication  that is paper-based and storing the information with the agencies that are working under the government. The guidelines of the IT Act include the following:

  1. The reasons for which the data can be interfered with by the government.
  2. The laws related to the breach of a contract and its consequences. There could be various forms of a breach of a contract like a penalty for damaging the computer systems, tampering with the computer source, breach of privacy and confidentiality, and others.



In this blog, we discussed in detail about Intellectual Property act, its coverage scope, the regulations governing it and TRIPS. We also came across patents, trademarks, copyrights, The Madrid Protocol, Industrial designs and geographical indications along with plant varieties and the various layout designs of ICs, data protection and cyber crime.