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Whenever we think about Intellectual Property Rights there are only three broad areas that come into our mind and that is Trademark, Copyright & Patents but the question is'.does IPR strictly restricted to these three fields only or it is much wider than this?

Unexplored Branches of IPR

Well the domain of IPR is much, much wider than we think. With the rapid pace of technological innovation IPR has also gained popularity in other areas which are as follows:

  • Trade Secrets: Some business ideas, marketing strategies, secrets or confidential information can not be revealed to maintain the competitive advantage and since they can not be revealed can not even be granted protection under Patent Law. Trade Secret is any kind of information that is not generally known in the relevant industry giving huge economic benefits to its holder. The best example of Trade Secret is the ' formula of Coca-Cola'. You will be surprised to know Coca-Cola has not patented its formula just because they did not want it to reveal hence they taken the Trade Secret Protection.

Trade Secrets are not registered like other forms of intellectual property instead the judicial system of each country determines the requirements for obtaining trade secret protections. These are protected under Article 39 of TRIPS i.e. Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in the form of 'Undisclosed Information' and provides a uniform mechanism for the protection of Trade Secrets. India is also a part of the TRIPS Agreement.

  • Design Registration: Design plays an important role in the selling of consumer goods and products. You must have observed parle-G, Oreo, Hide & Seek, etc. have some sort of design engraved on its biscuits. Infect every biscuit has a different shape, pattern, and color. Registration of design helps in protecting the products which can be distinguished by mere their novel shape or pattern because nowadays uniqueness, innovation, and competitiveness is the main requirement for the survival of every business. Application for the Design can be made online through The duration of design is initially ten years from the date of registration and can further be extended for a period of five years.
  • Geographical Indication: As the name suggests Geographical Indication is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and have qualities, reputation or benefits that are attributable to that place of origin. The perfect example of Geographical Indication is 'Darjeeling Tea, Alphonso Mango'  etc. These products have been exported on a regular basis representing India's reputation of high quality of these products hence require protection so that no one can misuse the same. The same can be protected under the Geographical Indication Act,1999.
  • Design of Integrated Circuits: Integrated Circuits (IC) which are commonly known as 'chips' or 'micro-chips' is another branch of IPR. These are the electronic circuits in which all the components have been assembled in a certain order on the surface. In today's world IC are an essential element for a wide range of electrical products including products of everyday use such as watches, televisions digital devices, etc. Registration of the same can be made under the Semi-Conductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act. Even TRIPS also provides protection to the IC under article 2 of the agreement.
  • Registration Plant Varieties and Protection of Farmers' Right: As we all know India is one of the richest countries in the agriculture sector. New Agricultural and technological advancements are happening on a day to day basis. To promote the Agricultural Innovation India amongst the first countries in the world to pass the law granting the rights in form of Plant varieties protection and farmers rights Act, 2001. Its aim to protect both farmers and breeders right and to encourage the development of new varities of plants.

The authority has been set up for this purpose which shall provide registration of new and extant plant varieties of plants and ensure that seeds of varieties registered under this act are available to the farmers.

So as discussed, IPR is not confined to Trademark, Copyright and Patent only instead the horizon of IPR is much wider. Recent but not so recent case law of potato farmers v/s Pepsico also relates to the infringement of intellectual property rights under the Plant Varieties Protection and Farmers Rights Act, 2001.


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Published by

CS Aarti Jain
Category LAW   Report

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