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Contribution to the contemporaneous field of knowledge including invention, creation of set of impalpable assets which is owned and legally protected by an individual or company from the outside use or implementation without consent are referred to as intellectual property rights. It is the right given to the person over the creations of their minds and give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.

Concept of Intellectual Property:

Intellectual Property is a product of human intellect and the right granted on it allows its owner to benefit from the fruits of this intellectual endeavor by creating a monopoly over it. Such benefit is not always a natural right but requires recognition by statute.

Intellectual Property Rights are patents, copyrights, trademarks, and geographical indicators, protection of undisclosed information and layout designs of integrated circuits, industrial designs and traditional knowledge that are recognized by the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPS) and governed by the WTO (World Trading Organization).

History and Evolution:

Intellectual property rights have grown to a position from where it plays an important role in the global economy’s development over the past two decades.

The significance of Intellectual Property can be traced to the ancient use of stamps on bricks by Roman brick makers for the purpose of identification. Even before that the earliest record of the granting of a patent for a person’s creations is in

Sybaris, a Greek state , around 500 BCE where the state granted

monopoly for one year “any new refinement in luxury.

With the emergence of an economy based on trade in Medieval Europe , the power to introduce new innovations in the creation of goods and services rested solely with the guilds, although many of the advances in intellectual property law that took place throughout Europe at this time were generated more by the consolidation of power and political and religious agendas of the authorities.

In the U.S When the colonies gained their independence from England following the Revolutionary War. each colony (except Delaware) passed its own copyright law.

Prior to the ratification of the Constitution, however, there was no unified

patent law throughout the colonies, each of the 13 colonies took it upon themselves and created its own distinct body of patent law. This, of course, led to a severe

degradation in the value of copyrights and patents.

By 1990s, laws and regulations were strengthened in this area by many countries


Development of Intellectual Property in India:

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in India was imported from the west. The Indian Trade and

Merchandise Marks Act 1884, was first Indian law regarding IPR.

The first Indian Patent law was enacted in 1856 followed by a series of acts being passed.

They are:

  • Indian Patents and Designs Act in 1911

  •  Indian Copyright Act in 1914

  •  Indian Trade and Merchandise Marks Act

  •  Indian Copyright Act have been replaced by Trade & Merchandise Marks Act 1958 and Copyright Act 1957 respectively.

In 1948, the Indian government appointed the first committee to review the prevailing Patents & Design Legislation.

The theory, upon which the patent system is based on i.e., an opportunity of acquiring exclusive rights in

an invention, stimulates technical process in four ways:

  1. Encourages research and invention.

  2. Induces an inventor to disclose his discoveries.

  3. Offers award for the expenses of developing inventions.

  4. Provides an inducement to invest capital in new lines of production which might not appear.


The protection of intellectual property, such as copyrights, trademarks, and patents, has played a vital role in the economic growth and development in a world in which innovations in thought, technology, and commerce have flourished Intellectual Property Right (IPR) plays a key role in every sector and has become the basis for crucial investment decisions. IPRs are exclusive and therefore there is always been a challenge to strike balance

between the interests of society at large.

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