Are you a creator, designer or a business owner? Do you know that the content you create or the product you make are unique to you and can be protected by law? If however, you fail to protect your own creations, you can face situations where others might claim your hard work to be theirs and earn illegal benefit out of it.
In order to protect the rights and interests of creators and to enable innovation and creation which lies at the heart of any economy, Intellectual Property Rights were born. But, before we dive any further into Intellectual Property Rights, let us first understand what is Intellectual property.
What is intellectual property?
WIPO defines Intellectual Property as creations of the minds. This can include literary and artistic works, inventions, designs, symbols, images etc.
“everything from works of art to inventions, computer programs to trademarks and other commercial signs”.
Why does your work need protection?
When you create, you put in your creativity, time and effort. While you expect to be rewarded fairly, you would equally want that no one steals your work and claim it be his/her work and earn unfair benefits out of it. In order to ensure that, there are two important things you should know:
Number 1: Know your Intellectual Property(IP) rights and;
Number 2: Know how to protect your IP rights;
What are my IP rights?
Intellectual Property rights protect the interests of innovators and creators by giving them rights over their creations. The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (1967) lists the following as protected by IP rights:
- literary, artistic and scientific works:protected under copyright for the likes of books, music, films, computer programs.
- performances of performing artists-protected under rights of public performances and broadcasts like a play in a theatre
- phonograms and broadcasts- protected under rights of broadcasting and communication to the public like broadcasting a movie, news, image, sound etc.,
- inventions in all fields of human endeavor and scientific discoveries protected under patents
- industrial designs
- trademarks, service marks, and commercial names and designations
- protection against unfair competition; and
- “all other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields”.
If your work or creation falls under any of the above categories and if you haven’t yet taken the steps to protect your work, I guess you should read onto the next section.
How do I protect my rights?
Once you know which category, your work/ creation falls under, ensure that your work is protected under the law of your nation: Here, I briefly discuss how you can protect your creation, work, or your IP of your business in India
A work is copyrighted as soon as it is created. Copyright registration is not mandatory in India, but it is advisable that you register your copyright. Having a copyright certificate is much easier to prove ownership before the Courts as opposed to having none. In order to help secure your copyright, place a copyright notice on all copies of the work, and register your copyright before Registrar of Copyrights, India.
A brandname for your business is unique, well thought upon and worked hard on. Having someone steal it or embroiling yourself in a litigation later over someone else’s trademark, is not something you would want right? In order to secure your trademark, your work starts right in the beginning of selecting a brandname. Always select a unique brand name after conducting a thorough trademark search. Once you are sure that your brand name and logo is not listed in the trademark registry India, you can go forward with the registration of the same. Registration will help you against any illegal third party claims and can also grant you permanent injunctions, profits earned, compensations and damages.
If you want your invention from being misused it is important that you register your invention under a patent. Although the procedure for filing a patent is not as smooth as a copyright or trademark, however once received, it does grant you a bulk of exclusive rights over your invention for over twenty years or even more. It is a right granted by the government which excludes others from making, using, selling, or even importing the patented product or process without prior approval. In order to ensure that your idea/ invention is patentable, it should be unique. Similar to trademark, carry out a thorough patent search before you move ahead. Once you are sure that there are no similar patent registered, you can apply to file a patent for your invention with the Indian Patent Office.
As important it is to create a work, it is equally important to protect it. While unprotected works have a hard time before Courts with continuous litigations and upwards shooting bills, protected works find themselves very much on the safer side with mitigated costs and risks.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.