The Significance of Intellectual Property
This blog article will look into the significance of intellectual property, the intangible asset of any organisation that majorly contributes to the economy and fosters innovativeness amongst the people. It will briefly highlight the various intellectual property rights under this regime.
Over the last two centuries, the world has witnessed drastic developments and advancements in innovations. These developments have changed the world and the functionality of various devices/objects and other regular aspects of lives. The first invention to change people’s lives was the printing block press in the 18th century, to which the then Queen of England granted protection under the Statute of Anne, 1710, and created a monopoly over printing books and texts. It has only seen great progress henceforth, with the introduction of new innovations and inventions in various other fields, including communication, medicine, transport, science, lifestyle and so on.
A business is built from a strong foundation base and grows by virtue of the goods and services delivered to the end consumers. The growth of the organisation is not just attributed to the ‘knowledge economy’ (of organisational and marketing strategies) but majorly to the reputation and goodwill of the business, i.e., its brand name. This forms an intangible asset of the organisation. Today, about 80% of the market value of a company organisation is attributed to these intangible assets. On the other hand, in the case of smaller businesses, the market value is more or less attributed wholly to their intangible assets. Now, you may wonder what are these intangible assets and whether they hold any real significance? These intangible assets refer to the reputation and goodwill built for the products and services rendered under the brand name of the company. Intangible assets are like biometric identities of a company- they are distinct and unique to each organisation. Therefore, it is essential that these assets are protected from third party interference or misuse. Intellectual Property Law evolved when the need felt by these companies to protect its intangible assets was recognised. This protection does not only extend to the novel creations of business organisations but also to the local production of goods and individual creations. Any innovation is a result of the time, effort, research and resources invested into its development. Thereby, the law recognises these concerns and provides protection to the creator for a fixed time period, during which the creator may exploit his work to reap the benefits thereof, both economically and morally.
In the generation of growing start-ups, it is crucial that the primary identification of the business is protected. The brand name identifies the products and services rendered and distinguishes the same from another organisation. This protection is made under the Trademarks Act, 1999. Designs independently applicable to articles of industrial production are protected under the Designs Act, 2000. Further, in the world of scientific R&D, inventions are witnessed with respect to new improved and advanced technology and research; which is protected under the Patents Act, 1970. Lastly, development in the application of the science of semiconductor with creation of chips for electronic products relating to their outlay and layout are protected under the Semiconductor Integrated Circuit Layout-Design Act, 2000.
Pertaining to the local production
of goods, especially in India, being a nation of diverse culture and local
practices, many distinct products have developed by virtue of traditional
practices of the indigenous people. The products and the traditional works that
identify its origin to a specific region of the nation, are protected under the
Geographical Indication Act, 2000. Moreover, the traditional practices of using
a naturally occurring good (for instance, turmeric, neem) are categorised under
traditional knowledge and protected under the Patents Act, 1970. Given the fact
that the major contribution to the economy is from agriculture, the various
unique plants, genetically modified and other seed varieties, as well as their
related resources developed by farmers are protected under the Plant Varieties
and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001.
Works pertaining to the individual creative
expression of works in various fields of literary, artistic, dramatic, as well
as cinematographic and sound recordings including cover versions, are protected
under the Copyright Act, 1957.
As briefly elucidated above, it is evident that every aspect of manufacturing and production and its advancement over the years is an outcome of the effort of an individual or organisation, as the case may be. Where these innovations are being commercialised, uplifting the standards of living of all people and thereby contributing to the economy, it is only crucial to recognise and protect the respective rights of the creator. This protection further inspires new creations and developments, which allow for the overall growth of the nation.
Intellectual Property Rights is the branch of law that protects the very root of an innovation, the intellectual creativity of the creator. This field is evergreen, constantly growing and spreading its wings across all major practice areas and evolving to suit the advancement in technology such as observed in AI. These intangible assets have greatly contributed to the economic growth, fosters innovativeness and competitiveness in the global market.
The significance of intellectual property protection is higher than ever amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. With pharma-companies racing to develop a vaccine, it is only common sense that the vaccine would be one of the most commercially exploited substance in the 21st century. Protecting the rights of the inventor and the pharmaceutical company that it belongs to is essential before commercially manufacturing and licensing it. Times like this revolutionise the manner in which a business man sees his assets, it is high time companies revaluate the value of the physical assets that it owns in comparison to the intangible intellectual property.
Intellectual Property: Powerhouse for Innovation and Economic Growth, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), available at https://iccwbo.org/publication/intellectual-property-powerhouse-for-innovation-and-economic-growth/ (last visited on 19 July 2020, 15:13hrs)
Innovation and Intellectual Property, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), available at https://www.wipo.int/ip-outreach/en/ipday/2017/innovation_and_intellectual_property.html (last visited on 19 July 2020, 15:16hrs).
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Basics, Intellectual Property Rights Information & Assistance Search (U.S. Government), available at https://www.stopfakes.gov/article?id=Why-is-Intellectual-Property-Important (last visited on 19 July 2020, 15:19hrs).
Shilpa Margaret Kurian,
5th Year, BBA LLB