Intellectual Property Rights In India: Protecting Trademarks, Patents, And Copyrights

design image
Date: 06 June 2023

Intellectual Property Rights In India: Protecting Trademarks, Patents, And Copyrights

According to a 2020 study titled "How can India step up its game?" by the Confederation of Indian Industries and EY, India has emerged as a favored choice for foreign direct investment (FDI). It is anticipated to become a top destination for inflow in the next few years.

Key indicators include an expanding economy, market potential, a competent workforce, and policy reforms. Recent reductions in corporate taxes, initiatives to make conducting business easier, labor law simplifications, and FDI-related reforms have helped to boost the country's reputation as a preferred location. Protection of intellectual property (IP) rights is a key factor for multinational corporations when investing in technology-driven businesses and any organization that makes significant R&D investments.

In today's innovation-driven market, recognizing, safeguarding, and enforcing IP rights gives a competitive advantage. India's strong legal system has well-defined rules protecting numerous types of IP, including patents through patent services , trademarks, designs, copyrights, integrated circuit layouts, and geographical indications. All adhere to minimal IP rights protection and enforcement requirements under Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Relationship Between India and South Korea

The two countries entered into a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) in 2010 to enhance and elevate the economic relationship between India and South Korea. Under Article 12 of the CEPA, the significance of intellectual property (IP) rights is acknowledged as a crucial element for social, economic, and cultural development. It emphasizes the need for cooperation between both nations in IP rights and requires them to establish laws offering even greater protection than what is mandated by the TRIPS agreement.

India has since undertaken numerous initiatives to bolster economic ties and attract investments from South Korea. The India-Korea Startup Hub, established in 2019, serves as a platform to foster collaboration among startups, investors, incubators, and aspiring entrepreneurs from both countries.

In 2020, the Department of Science and Technology in India and the Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technologies in South Korea announced 12 joint research proposals. These initiatives cover green mobility, renewable energy, engineering sciences, and materials science and technology. Scientists and researchers from both countries will jointly own any IP rights from these collaborations.

These positive developments have spurred India and South Korea to engage in fast-track negotiations to upgrade the CEPA. As a result, bilateral trade between the two nations is expected to reach USD 50 billion by 2030.

Patents in India

Foreign applicants can file a patent application in India through the patent cooperation treaty (PCT) route within 31 months from the date of priority or the Paris Convention route within 12 months from the filing date of the priority application. Notably, if the application is filed in India by natural persons, startups, small entities, or educational institutions, there is a significant 80% reduction in the official fee.

Under the Startup India initiative, an entity qualifies as a startup if it meets the following criteria for patent registration in India:

Incorporation: The entity must be incorporated in India as a private limited company, registered as a partnership firm under section 59 of the Partnership Act, 1932, or a limited liability partnership under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008. The eligibility extends for up to 10 years from the date of incorporation or registration.

Turnover Limit: The entity's turnover in any financial year since incorporation or registration should not exceed USD 12.3 million.

Focus on Innovation: The entity should be actively involved in the innovation, development, or improvement of products, processes, or services. Alternatively, it should have a scalable business model with a high potential for employment generation or wealth creation. It is important to note that an entity formed through splitting or reconstructing an existing business does not qualify as a startup for patent registration in India under Startup India Initiative.

These criteria ensure that startups engaged in innovative activities and driving economic growth have the opportunity to benefit from patent registration in India under Startup India Initiative.

Trademark Protection in India:

The Indian Trademarks Act of 1999, TRIPS-compliant, allows trade and service marks to be registered. It allows for multiclass applications and recognizes the concept of well-known marks. India follows the "first to use" principle, prioritizing prior trademark users. In case of infringement, both registered and unregistered trademarks can be protected through infringement suits or passing-off actions.

Design Protection in India:

Design protection is governed by the Designs Act of 2000. It protects shapes, configurations, patterns, ornaments, or compositions of lines or colors applied to articles judged solely by the eye. Reciprocity design applications can be filed within six months from the priority date. Foreign entities may also benefit from discounted fees if they meet the prescribed criteria.

Other Forms of Intellectual Property in India:

In addition to patents, trademarks, and designs, India recognizes other forms of intellectual property. These include copyright, geographical indications, plant varieties, and semiconductor layout design of integrated circuits. Each form of IP has its own set of regulations and requirements for protection.

Establishment of IP Division in Delhi High Court:

The Delhi High Court established the IP Division (IPD) to streamline IP matters in July 2021. The IPD handles both transferred and new IP cases, including appeals and revocation or rectification actions previously handled by the IP Appellate Board (IPAB). The IPD Rules, introduced in October 2021, regulate the practice and procedure for the IPD's jurisdiction. Cases transferred from the former IPAB are being listed before the joint registrar of the High Court to ensure compliance with the rules and court practices.

Wrapping Up

Online Patent Filing offers expert assistance in patent service for entrepreneurs, startups, and businesses looking to protect their innovative ideas and inventions in India. With reduced fees, expedited examination, and favorable court decisions, India presents a lucrative opportunity for patent protection. Trust Online Patent Filing to navigate the process efficiently and ensure the security of your intellectual property rights.