Emerging trends in Intellectual Property Rights

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History of IPR

The importance of Intellectual property rights was taken into consideration in the year 1883 and was later administered by World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). WIPO provides various range of global services and aids for preserving Intellectual properties globally. World Trade Organisation (WTO) came up with an International legal agreement called Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) on 1st January 1995.

This agreement allowed the member nations of WTO to provide wider scopes in the protection of their Intellectual Property as per their own legal provisions.

India became a member of TRIPS by graciously signing the agreement along with other emerging nations back in 1995. Apart from that India also adopted the National Intellectual Protection Rights Policy in May,2016. This policy aims to guide future development of IPR’s in the country with it’s clarion call of “Creative India, Innovative India”.

Within no time after implementing the new IPR Policy, India’s ranking in Global Innovative Index (GII) widely improved from 81st in 2015 to 52nd in 2019.

Changing trends in Intellectual Property

Intellectual property has seen various refinements in recent times. The 21st century is the century of innovation and creation and also is an era of the IP revolution. This era has the power to convert ideas and knowledge into wealth for the social good.

The huge difference that IPR has brought, which is necessary in recent times justifies what Victor Hugo said in a speech and I quote “no power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come.” This current era is bringing in various new types of Intellectual property rights in the field of technology, medicine, investments, and literary works.

Technology today is the answer to all the questions. It not only helps us in keeping touch with people globally but has also opened up doors for infinity of information in just one fingertip.  But with great power comes great responsibility and that’s what exactly the laws today lack.  Law is the answer to all the social and political issues and when law and technology come together, we get what we call as Copyright law.

The basic objective of Copyright law is to fix the authority of the inventor and the general user of the copyrighted work. In India, the software i.e. computer programmes is protected under Indian Copyright Act 1957. To achieve this objective copyright law has been amended globally various times.

IPR and Technology law is the major part of any business dispute or transaction and thus making it necessary, as any company big or small, wants to protect their innovations, ideas, design, products etc Strong IPR protection also has always been beneficial as they create revenue for the inventors and also the stakeholders.

Digitization of law has severely changed the format of how people used to work traditionally. Access of numerous information on internet has made the processing, distribution and execution of protected works much easy, but on the other hand availability of low-cost illegal copies and illicit use of copyrighted work has also taken a new high.

To protect the intellects from such threats Digital Rights Management (DRM) has added new measures to minimise the copying of original work without the owner’s knowledge. Techniques such as Access Control and Copy control make sure that the creator of software can keep the check on users of his/ her products and it also ensures that the services are available ton only those who pay for it.

It also prevents any other party from getting a copy of the original work unless they have a license. A digital watermark is another technique that makes sure the creator is able to digitally track the unauthorized user of their work. The watermark embedded on the work can easily track illicit use. Encryption schemes also allow the creator to prevent any illegal access and only the decrypted user of work has the key to their work.

Pharmaceutical industries are offered exclusive rights to sell, import, and export drugs through Patents. The Patent prevents the other pharma companies to sell the drugs manufactured by those companies for next 20 years. IPR has the greatest impact on pharmaceutical companies, from manufacturing to pricing and then to distribution.

The year 2020 and 2021 were a huge challenge for the pharmaceutical industry as we were in the middle of a global pandemic. The pandemic essentials such as masks, disinfectants, hand sanitizers and PPE kits were widely in circulations during this period and is still in the market. With strong IPR several countries around the globe the pharma industry is growing in rapid speed and for the countries witch critical patent access the present market leads to monopoly resulting in increased prices of drugs.

But in the middle of a global pandemic the biggest challenge for us was not the access of vaccine and other health essentials but the question was how to identify the approved vaccine. There were various barrier that we faced with respect to access like lack of raw materials, lack of funds, lack of manufacturing departments and lack to access of innovations, ideas and knowledge in health sector.

The knowledge of Intellectual property right today was more important than ever.  The researchers, the scientists all rely on patents to preserve their ideas and inventions from being stolen thus helping to build up the economy. The government along with private sectors helped in increasing the investment in medical and pharmaceutical research and innovation and also made sure to reward those who put up their hard work to make the medical sector better than ever.

The government around the globe made sure that companies registered under Intellectual property rights should be benefited and funded. But in the present times we have to make sure that Intellectual Property right is not a barrier to the access of medical treatments and vaccines. It is rather a shield to make sure that every individual gets access to best treatments and cures which are medically proven.

But at the present case we are suffering from global innovation crisis and the funds required for innovations. Given the drastic suffering that we are going through with human health and welfare the world needs to make all the equipment required for innovations accessible.

Today, the biggest financial and legal asset that the companies and start-ups have is Intellectual property. The protection of a brand is done by trademark law on the basis of performance of company. Also, the companies with protected Intellectual property and investments are taken seriously in the market thus attracting higher quality partners and bigger investments.

The idea of Intellectual Property Rights also functions as a marketing tool and increase the value of business. The patent or the trademark sign on the product indicates the uniqueness of its and stands for its individuality and how it is different from all the other products available in the market.

Indian government, in order to showcase the innovative side of its country came up with schemes like Make in India in 2014 and Skill India in 2015. These two were the national platform designed to generate investment and bring out the innovative side of people in the country.

Conclusion

Thus, it is safe to say that in recent times of globally highly digital landscape, Intellectual Property Rights are most essential than it has ever been. IPR has given worth to the ideas and has made them commercially potential. Without taking adequate measures to protect one’s invention or business, the individual can never reap the benefits of their hard-work.

The registration and patents of latest developments and innovations are also adding to the economy of the nation. With the rise of patents and trademarks of companies being shared on internet widely it has become easy for the people to illegally copy the ideas shared online but there are several counties who recognise the importance of original work and ideas and thus have very strict legal provisions for the same.

Industries such as medical and digital are at their peak at this moment, especially after pandemic and it has finally made the intellects and creators realise the importance of data protection and IP enforcements.


This article has been authored by Shambhavi, a student at Bharati Vidyapeeth University.

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