1. What is meant by intellectual Property Rights (IPR)?
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are rights relating to creations of the mind, they are granted to creators of IP, for ideas which are new and original, by the respective governments. No one can use others’ IPR without the author/ inventor/ creator permission. These rights come with limited monopoly and exclusivity.
2. What are the different types of IPR?
There are different types of IPR namely, patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, protection of geographical indications(GIs), IC lay-out designs, trade secrets and new plant varieties etc.
3. Why are they important?
Countries have laws to protect intellectual property for two main reasons. One is to give statutory expression to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creations and such rights of the public in access to those creations. The second is to promote, as a deliberate act of Government policy, creativity and the dissemination and application of its results and to encourage fair-trading, which would contribute to economic and social development in view of the immense commercial value of intellectual property.
4. Are IP rights territorial in nature?
Yes, IP rights are territorial. It means that an Indian registration is valid only in India. For protection of Intellectual Property in any other country, one has to seek protection separately under the relevant law.
5. What happens if you do not register your ownership rights?
Non-registration of ownership rights may lead to someone else use the intellectual property without any benefits to you and even assume ownership of the said property.Patent and copyright information also helps in avoiding duplication of research.
6. What are the organizations dealing with IPR’s?
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of the UN based in Geneva, is the apex inter-governmental body dealing with IPR’. Besides there are various international organizations implementing a number of global treaties in the realm of intellectual property.In India the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the Department of Science and Technology (TIFAC),are concerned with issues relating to IPR’s. Other bodies include apex chambers of commerce such as CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM etc.
7. What is the way to register a Trademark or a brand name in India?
Trademark registration is provided by the Trademark Law. There are various steps involved in such registration. The first and foremost would be searching for a unique name. Then such name can be filed manually or online with the concerned trademark registry followed by the examination of such application. Post that, the application would be published in the Trademark Journal and if there is no one opposing it, then the trademark would be registered successfully. The validity of such registration is for 10 years beyond which it has to be renewed.
8. What is the duration of Copyright protection under Indian laws?
The duration of such protection depends mainly on the type of work under consideration. Literary or musical works or artistic works (other than photographs) are protected through the lifetime of the author and an additional 60 years from the year in which the author dies. Cinematograph films, photograph and computer programmes are protected for 60 years from the year in which the work is made available to the public. Sound recordings are protected for 60 years from the end of the year in which the recording is first published.
9. I want to apply for a patent. How should I go about it?
In accordance with the provisions of Patent Act, the inventor, his assignee or legal representative of deceased person, who before his death was either the inventor or assignee, can apply for patents at the head office of the Indian Patent Office or its branches depending upon in whose jurisdiction he resides or has a domicile or has a principle office of business. In case of a foreign applicant, the application can be filed at the appropriate office, in whose jurisdiction the address for service or patent attorney’s office is situated. The patent application can be accompanied either with complete specification or with provisional specification. In case the application is filed with provisional specification, then one has to file complete specification within 12 months from the date of filing of the application or else the application will be deemed to be abandoned. There is no extension of time to file complete specification after expiry of such period.
10. How can I stop someone from misusing my logo or brand name?
If your brand name is registered then the remedy of infringement can be initiated to restrain misuse by third party. If trademark is pending then common law action of passing off can be initiated for prohibiting unauthorized use.
The reliefs that the Trademark Law provides in case of infringement or passing off are permanent and interim injunction, damages, accounts for profit, delivery of infringing goods.
Generally on discovering trademark misuse, trademark holders also send Cease & Desist notice to the infringer. Sending of Cease & Desist notice is most often sought as a means of restraining misuse of trademark as it is cost-effective and a milder form enforcing trademark rights against the infringer.
11. What is meant by Property mark as per the Indian Penal Code (Sec. 479)?
A mark used for denoting that movable property belongs to a particular person is called a property mark. It means that marking any movable property or goods, or any case, package or receptacle containing goods; or using any case, package or receptacle, with any mark thereon.
12. Can non-traditional trademarks be registered in India?
Yes, non- traditional trademarks like three-dimensional marks, shape marks, sound marks, holograms, sole colour marks and colour combination marks can be registered in India.
Please note that any mark which is capable of being graphically represented, prima facie qualifies for trademark registration in India.
In view of the aforesaid, non-traditional trademarks like taste and smell marks are not deemed registrable under the Indian trademark law.
13. What is Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international patent law treaty, concluded in 1970 and entered into force in 1978. It provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting states. A patent application filed under the PCT is called an international application, or PCT application. Thus an inventor of a member country can simultaneously obtain priority for his Invention in any or all of the member countries, without having to file a separate application in the countries of interest, by designating them in the PCT application. India joined the PCT on December 7, 1998. The activities of the PCT are coordinated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) situated in Geneva.
14. How can an International Patent Application be filed through PCT in India?
The International Patent Application through PCT, designating countries of interest can directly be filed at the Indian Patent Office with India as the receiving office. Four copies of the International Application is required to be filed with the Patent Office. The Patent Office prepares the certified copy of the priority documents and the same is transmitted to the International Bureau (IB) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). A search copy is also sent to the International Searching Authority (ISA). The ISAs conduct and issue search report on the patentability of the invention. The applicant may also consider examination of his application by the International Preliminary Examination Authority. Depending upon the favorability of International search report and International Preliminary Examination report on Patentability the patent application may enter the national phase of the designated countries.
15. What happens to a patent application once it is examined?
Once the application for patent is examined, the Patent office generally issues an examination report to the applicant. Such examination report is known as First Examination Report (FER).The applicant is given twelve months period from the date of issuance of the FER to comply with the objections raised in the FER. If the applicant is not able to meet the requirement within 12 months, or does not submit the documents which were sent to him for compliance within the said period, the application is deemed to have been abandoned. If the application is found to be in order for grant, the patent is granted and the letters patent is issued to the applicant. However if a pre-grant opposition is filed or pending, further action is taken after disposition of the pre-grant opposition.