Intellectual Property Rights

In the new digital age, an idea can change your life. Ideas are the cornerstones of building inventions that are aimed at making lives easier and making a difference. However, there’s limited scope for preserving or securing an idea. Being a non-tangible aspect, it is difficult but imperative to provide some kind of security to the creator of an “idea.” Keeping this in mind, the concept of Intellectual Property Rights was formulated: to protect intangible ideas and to provide some kind of ownership rights to the developer, otherwise, it would be quite simple for anyone to present someone else’s work and thoughts as their own.

Under Article 27 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the need to protect and to establish security for the moral and material interests developing out of authorship of scientific, literary or artistic productions was recognized. This paved the way for the contemporary field of the phenomenon of Intellectual Property (IP).

IP essentially talks about the creations of the mind which have an intrinsic moral and commercial value, like an original idea of business or a concept or program developed by an entrepreneur. The IP of any company helps it distinguish itself from its competitors. IP may include but is not limited to literary works, inventions, symbols, logos, names, artistic works and more. Therefore, one may realize that IP is not a new concept, but the need to protect and secure it is known as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).


As stated earlier, an IP mainly consists of intangible assets that merit protection. The owners or the developers of ideas and concepts must be given a free space to exercise their rights. It protects the rights of the owner or inventor of a particular thing. To relate to the idea of just how far an IPR is effective, the 2011 comedy The Hangover II is an apt example of the same. 

In the movie, there was a scene where Ed Helms’ character wakes up, after a particularly interesting night, with a tattoo around his left eye. The tattoo was similar to that of Mike Tyson’s face tattoo, alluding to his cameo in the prequel The Hangover. 

Tyson’s tattoo artist filed a lawsuit, alleging that this was a violation of his IP since he was the creator of the said design. Though an injunction on the release of the movie was denied, the judge held that there was a case or a cause of action in the suit. While ultimately the two parties settled outside of court, this gives a fair idea of to what extent the concept of an IPR may be stretched. What may seem to most as a frivolous complaint, was a violation of the copyrights of a creator. 

On the other hand, IPRs also promote the need for new ideas. These are laws operating not just on a national level but also on an international level, thus, forcing individuals and companies to think of new and out-of-the-box ideas, which is beneficial for the consumer and the economy.


While there are multiple IPRs that can be filed, owing to the subject matter of the IPR, they can be classified as:

  • Copyright: Copyrights essentially prevent the representation of any original concept “as it is.”  Copyrights are provided to regulate and protect the expression of an idea and not the idea itself. For instance, all literary and artistic works are protected by copyrights. 
  • Patent: A patent is provided to the creator or owner of an invention. Depending upon the product created, the owners may apply for patents such as design and utility patents. Once patented, the commodity cannot be further used for any commercial purpose without the consent of the patent-holder.
  • Trademark: One can apply for a trademark to protect an original and unique combination of words and designs. These generally formulate the logos and symbols or names of companies. The sign “™” is used to showcase that a trademark exists in the name of such words or designs.
  • Trade Secrets: Trade secrets refer to the algorithms used in developing a program or the special ingredients used in the creation of any item. For instance, companies such as Coca Cola and Pepsi do not disclose all the ingredients used to manufacture said beverages. Trade secrets are imperative as they provide a unique identity to a company.
  • Geographical Indications: A geographical indication is essential to protect the intrinsic value of a commodity and connects it with its origin. For example, if a company manufactures Italian pasta carbonara and claims it is the authentic version of Italian pasta carbonara, the actual Italians may sue, as is not of their standard and the term and description of “Italian” will have to be separated.

IPRs are an integral part of the economy, culture and art of any country. Despite being intangible sources, they actually fuel any company to run. Thus, IPRs are extremely important in any modern and developing country. Small and medium-scale industries seek to make complete use of their knowledge and resources to achieve the highest benefit possible. They help these industries to use their ideas and resources to the maximum capacity. However, companies must proceed with caution during the registration of these IPRs as it requires tremendous amounts of research and requires the fulfillment of both national and international requisites.

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