Intellectual property rights (IPR) refers to the branch of law which protects the rights associated with an individual’s invention, which is creative, unique and innovative.
With the emergence of globalisation and technological advancements, this field of law has been growing at a fast rate. In this digital era, it is easier to steal someone else’s data or design and claim it as one’s own. Hence, there is now a greater need of protecting the rights of inventions of their original creators.
Intellectual property rights are intangible in nature as they protect inventions, expressions, signs and information. There are mainly three types of IPR:
· Copyright: Protects the artistic/creative expression of an individual;
· Patent: Protects inventions and innovations discovered by an individual; and
· Trademark: Protects the signs/designs of a particular company or service distinguishing it from the same kind of other services present in the market.
In this blog, we’ll discuss copyright and patent and how they are different from each other.
Copyright is an exclusive right, which protects the original work of an author. It includes artistic, musical or literary works of an “author”. It includes both published and unpublished works. A copyright owner has the right to sell, reproduce, redistribute and make amendments to his or her work.
One of the most important things about copyright is that it “protects the expression” of the work and “not the idea” of the same. For example, there can be a possibility that two people can think of the same idea, but the way of expression of the same idea will be different and that “way of expression” will be protected, not the initial idea.
There have been so many versions of films with the same story, but the way a director expresses the idea can be different.
The protection provided under the copyright law comes into play the moment an author creates a work. It is not important to register for the copyright of one’s original work. However, it is advised or highly recommended, as it gives prima facie evidence of one’s ownership and legal rights associated with that particular work. The period for which a creation is protected under the copyright law in India spans the creator’s lifetime plus 60 years following his or her death. When such timelines are over, anyone can use the creation because it then comes under the public domain.
A patent is an exclusive right associated with a new and unique discovery. It mainly includes some invention or innovation in technology, artefacts and industrial processes rather than any work of art or carefully designed logo or sign.
Every patent owner has the right to claim commercial profits from his or her invention. Therefore, they have the right to trade it or allow others to use their invention. The purpose of patent protection is solely to encourage scientific inventions, industrial and economic progress, and new technology. A patent is a territorial right; meaning one has to apply for a patent in other countries if they plan to expand their business/product they’re selling.
To come under the statutory definition of protection under the Patent Act, 1970 there are three requirements, which are as follows:
The invention needs to be
· Innovative in its use;
· Novel and unique in nature; and
· should have an industrial application (e.g, inventions in the pharmaceutical industry).
Copyright vs Patent
· Act: Patent is governed by the Patent Act, 1970, whereas copyright is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957.
· Registration: It is a must for patents to retain rights for one’s invention whereas for copyright it is not mandatory.
· Time period: Patents are protected for 20 years (after the date of registration) whereas copyright lasts for the lifetime of an “author” plus 60 years after his or her death.
· Rights protected: Patents protect any invention which is unique and novel in nature, like the discovery of a new drug, whereas copyright protects the artistic, literary and creative expressions of an “author”.
The relationship between intellectual property and businesses has strengthened in the past few decades. For Instance, copyright plays a significant role in the entertainment industry and businesses associated with it. On the other hand, patents play a major role in the medical industry. It is the need of the hour and every business must be aware of how these IP rights affect their sales and growth. The most important thing to remember is that these give due credit to actual owners.