March 4, 2021

Intellectual Property Rights: Concept, Characteristics and Justifications

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, and symbols, names, and images used in commerce. Intellectual property is the product of human intellect including creativity, concepts, inventions, industrial models, trademarks, songs, literature, symbols, names, brands, etc.

Intellectual property rights do not differ from other property rights. They allow their owner to completely benefit from his/ her product which was initially an idea that developed and crystallized. They also entitled him/her to prevent others from using dealing with or tampering with his / her product without prior permission from him/ her. He/ she can in fact legally sue them and force them to stop and compensate for any damages. It is believed that IPR initially started in North Italy during the Renaissance era. In 1474, Venice issued a law regulating patent protection that granted an exclusive right for the owner. The copyright dates back to 1440 A.D. when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press with replaceable/ moveable wooden or metal letters. Late in the 19th century, a  number of countries felt the necessity of laying down laws regulating IPR. Globally two conventions constituting the basis for the IPR system worldwide had been signed; the Paris convention for the protection of Industrial property (1883) Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic works (1886).

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Protection of IPR allows the innovator, brand owner, patent holder, and copyright holder to benefit from his/her work, labor, and investment, which does not mean monopoly of the intellect. Such rights are set out in the International Declaration of Human Rights, which provides for the right to benefit from the protection of the moral and physical interests resulting from the right holder’s work; literal or artistic product.

Nature & characteristics of Intellectual Property Right:

(1) Intangible property:

IP[1]does not cover the created physical object but retains the conceptual development behind the physical object . Intellectual property law does not deal with the material object in which works of the mind have represented . The main feature which distinguishes IP from other types of property in its intangibility

IP is about a person’s ability to produce a new idea and put it before the public. Intellectual property: The product does not have any property as such but the strength, judgement, and initiative of the mind that is included in the product. This generates more theoretical value Intangible product. IPR[2] is awarded in a specific authorship work, mark, design, etc. For the integration[3] of ideas.

(2) Rights & duties

IP not only gives rise to rights of ownership but also to duties. In relation to his work/product, the IP owner has the right to conduct such actions. He is entitled exclusively to produce, copy the work, market the work, etc. He has a negative right also to rule out the exercise of his statutory rights for third parties. In this way, IPR law grants the proprietor’s [4] exclusive right to exclusion [5].

The reciprocal requirement must not be infringed on the right by all others. The privilege resulting from the application of IP law gives the owner the right to use the job. Such a right does not extend to others except the IP holders.

(3) creation of statute:

Intellectual property is derived from common law,ans it is covered under specific laws.

In accordance with relevant legislation, IPRs are statutory rights. Intellectual property, to put it differently, is statute formation. The right holder is protected by proposals, technical solutions or any other knowledge conveyed in a legally acceptable manner and subject in some instances to registration procedures.

In addition in the case of certain types of IPR, as is the case for patents and product designs the registration of the work is compulsory According to the applicable legislative requirements, whereas it is voluntary to register with respect to certain other forms of IPR such as trademarks, copyrights or geographical indications.

Some other formalities must be met to obtain such IP privileges. For example, microorganism patent. Similarly, it is a must for the divulgation[6] of an invention to secure a patent. IPR award is exclusively conditional on all statutory requirements.

(4) Territoriality

Intellectual property laws are mainly territorial and apply only within the relevant competence. Although the TRIPS agreement sets the minimum standard in its respective municipal laws for all nations, the IP laws around the world are not harmoniously [7]United. Full IPRs legislation is not in effect.

To order to secure and implement their IPR, developers and inventors of different kind of IPs have to comply with their national law and jurisdictions. The extent of security depends on the national legislation in question.

 (5) Assignable

They should obviously be granted[8] because they are privileges. A dichotomy between rights to intellectual property and the actual form in which the work is embedded is conceivable. IP may be bought, sold or licensed, employed, or affiliated.

(6) Dynamism

The IPR is constantly changing. The IP sector is also developing accordingly, as technology in all areas of human activities is changing exponentially. In accordance with the demand for scientific and technological advancement the scope of its defense is being extended and new items are being added to the IPRs sector.

Copyright and protection of plant variety are mentioned as a few of the current developments in the field of IPR. Technological progress and social development require a steady reassessment of the IPR system. In the technological era, developments particularly in the field of IT and biotechnology, require the regular review of IPRs.

(7) subject to public policy

They are exposed to the profound incarnation[9] of public policy. IP seeks to maintain and find a  suitable reconciliation between two competing interests. On one hand, customers try to take up works without much trouble, and on the other hand, the owners of intellectual rights need to be adequately compensated.

(8) subject matter of IPR protection

Intellectual property rights eligibility depends on the protection issue. Also, products specifically identified and acknowledged in the Law as the subject of protection are entitled to intellectual property rights. While the minimum requirements laid down in law may be included, protection may still be defined if it is expressly omitted from the subject matter entitled to protection.

 The Classical justification for intellectual property rights

The debate about the justification of intellectual property rights is as longstanding as these rights have been implemented under the jurisdictions of western societies. Over time, three classical justification of western societies. Over time, three classical justification have been developed, which are often used in combination to argue in favour of intellectual property rights. One characteristic of these rights is that they grant monopoly rights for the economic exploitation of creative work on an invention for a certain time period. But interestingly it seems to be clear, even for the strongest proponent of such monopoly rights that some restrictions to the execution of intellectual property rights have to be set.

Justification by natural law

The most common and most important justification starts with Locke’s natural law justification for the appropriation of worldly resources. Locke starts with his important claim for self ownership , from which he concludes that a person not only owns himself but also the results of his good work , as long as he leaves enough as good for others . The concept of self-ownership and the just appropriation of natural resources is challenged by many egalitarian philosophers and in libertarian philosophy, it is disputed whether self-ownership can be conceived of as compatible with the idea that natural resources should be distributed in the egalitarian way (vallentyne 2000). I will not question the self ownership thesis itself in this work , but will show that even if we rely on it , we cannot derive any intellectual property rights from it. Locke asserts that the intermingling of the self – owners labour with natural resources makes the result of this work his property. And even if this mixing metaphor has generated a lot of critics , it has remained one of the most used arguments for the justification of the appropriation of natural resources  and the result of the authors labour , therefore he is only owner deserves to benefit from it exclusively.

IPR for economic development

Protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) serves a dual role in economic development. While it promotes innovation by providing legal protection of inventions, it may retard catch-up and learning by restricting the diffusion of innovations. Does stronger IPR protection in a developing country encourage technology development in or technology transfer to that country? This book aims to address the issue, covering diverse forms of IPRs, diverse actors in innovation, and diverse cases from Asia and Latin America.


While the basic social objectives of intellectual property protection are as outlined above, it should also be noted that the exclusive rights given are generally subject to a number of limitations and exceptions, aimed at fine-tuning the balance that has to be found between the legitimate interests of right holders and of users.

   Submitted by:

   Manish Nagar

  Galgotias University

[1] Intellectual property

[2] Intellectual property rights

[3] Addition

[4] Owner

[5] An exclusion is an instance of leaving something or someone out.

[6] Disclosure

[7] Marked by agreement in feeling or attitude

[8] Licensed

[9] A period of life in earth in a particular form


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