Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Different types of IP include patents, copyright and trademarks.
IP is protected in law which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.
Each of us interact with Intellectual Property in our daily lives and may be oblivious of its significance. We also own intellectual property that we create in our lifetime.
Here is a small attempt to shed light on IP in Everyday life and their relevance to our lives.
Are you a writer, poet or an author? Then it is your artistic work, owned by you. Your rights are protected by copyright. Copyright is inherent to the author upon creation of artistic work and doesn’t need registeration although its highly recommended. Anyone who would use your work need to attribute the credits to you through citation on paper and your permission.
Are you an artist? Musicians, painters and professionals in visual art own their creative composition.
Are you a consumer of FMCG? Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) are those good that come with a limited shelf life. This short durability is because of high consumer demand and at times perishability such as dairy products. The most counterfeited brands across the world are in the FMCG industry, accounting to 15% of total counterfeit globally. Each of us are consumer of goods such as Vegetables, Pasta, Bread, Milk, Coffee, Bottled water, Bath Soap, dental care item, over-the-counter medicines such aspirin, Syringes, Bandages, Plasters. And we rely on brand names and logos to identify quality products in market. Counterfeit on these products historically have led to food adulteration with cooking oil and hurts the interests of consumers such as us.
Are you a foodie and fond of Darjeeling tea or Dharwad Peda? Both these are Geographical Indication. Due to the unique and complex combination of agro-climatic conditions, Darjeeling tea has a distinctive and naturally occurring quality and flavor which has won the patronage and recognition of discerning consumers all over the world for well over a century.
With history of 170 years, Dharward Peda received GI tag in 2007.
A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. - WIPO
Are you patron of traditional art? Channapatna toys are a form of wooden toys (and dolls) that are manufactured in the town of Channapatna of Ramanagara district, Karnataka. This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Karnataka Government.
Are you a fan of Mysore Silk Sarees? Did you know that the saree you own is protected as Geographical Indication? The Mysore Silk saree zari contains 65% pure silver, 0.65% of gold and renowned across the world for its unique sheen and regal look. I was the first product to obtain Geographical Indication (GI) status from Karnataka.
Are you a legal professional? Trademark Infringement has now drawn interest from the laws related not only to Intellectual Property but also Tech Laws, Media Laws, Sports Laws, Marketing Laws etc.
Are you a student? If you are a student then you are likely to use IP every day. Here are few instances:
Publications in Scientific journals require scholarly work which is original. In recent times, this can be established using anti-plagiarism tools to detect content borrowed from sources which are not cited in the writeup/whitepaper.
As a student, you would provide multiple seminars and workshops "for-credit" or as part of cultural events in university. It is recommended and sometimes mandated to only use Creative Commons licensed images/videos/content or get the designs freshly with credits to the designer.
If undergraduate students are working in a lab then
the IP will be theirs if they are working for academic or industry experience and they havent signed an IP assignment agreement
The IP belongs to University if they are paid for the work
The IP is theirs if they are doing it in a for-credit course
4. If a company sponsors student research in connection with a "for credit" course then the following applies:
The outcome are not the work of the University
The outcome are provided "as is" with no legal representations
Need to be identified or credited as student research performed
The results and observations of the research need approval in writing before publication
The terms may be overridden by Intellectual Property contract that may be signed between University and student or Company and Student.
Are you a business entity? Your brand name and logo can be protected by registeration of Trademark. Once registered, the symbol or series of words thus registered cannot be used by any other organization, forever, as long as it remains in use and proper paperwork with applicable fees paid. Trademark is significant because of the goodwill it garners over its period of usage. Counterfeit or unauthorized use of brand name and logo can cause huge losses to business. Asserting your brand as TM will help secure it legally against these counterfeits.
In technology industry, intellectual property assets are often primarily the most valuable asset. Without IP, the company may not be able to obtain initial capital necessary to start the business.
In transaction financing, acquired IP is the primary collateral. Monetizing IP under a distress situation has popular become popular in this transaction financing sector.
Here are 2 significant cases to give a quick peek into rights of owning a TM:
STARBUCKS COFFEE V SARDARBUKSH COFFEE in India: In 2018, a businessman used Sardar instead of Star on such a large scale that people were made to believe they belong to the Starbucks owner. However the Delhi High Court allowed the right to use the modified version of the Trademark Sardar Baksh to Sardarji Baksh . The court also allowed Starbucks to sue the person who uses Baksh in future.
COCA COLA VS BISLERI in India: On 12th November 1993, Bisleri assigned its trademark "Maaza" to Coca Cola to sell and export products in and from India. Besides the Trademark, the IP rights include formulation rights, goodwill and know-how. However, soon after the assignment, Bisleri filed a trademark Application in Turkey. It was held that the rights over the trademark were completely assigned to Coca Cola and Bisleri cannot use the trademark in or outside India. Thus appeal filed by the Bisleri company was invalidated by the court.
Are you now ready to identify IP entities during grocery shopping and food tours?!!