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IPR Laws in India

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Laws in India

IPR Laws in India

Let’s begin with a short history lesson. Intellectual Property Rights originated during the Renaissance in Italy in the 13th century. With their implementation, an individual was able to protect and earn money from their invention. Soon, this system of patents and copyrights spread across Europe. By the 19th century, it became widely recognized across industrialized countries that allowing the inventor ownership of literary, artistic, creative or scientific works stimulated further innovation. The result was a massive economic growth, in which intellectual property rights played an important role.


The World Intellectual Property Organization classifies the following to be protected as intellectual property rights:

  • Trademarks including service marks, designations and commercial names

  • Inventions

  • Industrial designs

  • Original creations in industrial, artistic, scientific or literary fields. These include discoveries, works, musical compositions, and performances.

Further, the Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) was negotiated by the World Trade Organization and was implemented with effect from January 1, 1995.  It is the most comprehensive and exhaustive agreement of its kind till date. Most countries of the world are signatories to this agreement.

TRIPS Agreement protects the following areas:

  • Trademarks and service marks

  • Industrial designs

  • Copyrights and similar rights

  • Geographical indications which specify the origin

  • Trade secrets

  • Design layout of assimilated circuits

  • Test data

  • Patents including protection of new plant varieties  

IPR India

India is a TRIPS Agreement compliant country. In recent decades, a number of laws have been passed or amended to bring them on par with world protections. Some of these laws are:

  • Patents Act, 1970

  • Indian Trademarks Act, 1999

  • Indian Copyright Act, 1957

  • New Designs Act, 2000

  • Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999

  • Protection of Layouts for Integrated Circuits Act, 2000

  • Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, 2001

  • Biodiversity Act, 2002

Let us examine the intellectual property rights in India which are protected under these laws:


After three separate amendments - the latest in 2005 - this law offers international level protection. Some of the latest inventions protected under its ambit are those related to the pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries.


Although an Act in this regard existed from 1958, a new Act was passed in 1999 to make it TRIPS-compliant. Today, Indian trademark registrations enjoy the full protection of Indian law.


The existing Act was amended several times, the last being in the year 2000. Today, it protects communication channels of telecasting and broadcasting as well as emerging software.


This piece of legislation is fulfilling its purpose on a global scale. It conforms to international trends in design administration and commercial and technical details.

Geographical Indications

India's biological diversity has allowed it to enjoy some of the rarest biological resources in the world. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 was implemented in 2003. It mandatorily requires the source of biological material employed in the invention to be disclosed.

Plant Varieties

To protect and sustain the most crucial economic sector i.e. agriculture, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Act, 2001 was enacted. It promotes the development of new varieties as well as conservation of existing ones. Till date, 114 crops and their variants have been registered for protection. The initiative has also allowed for availability of better seed quality for farmers.

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