What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect and primarily encompasses copyrights, patents, and trademark. It also includes other types of rights such as trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights against unfair competition.


trademark registration serves as a unique identity which imparts a personality to a product or service. It can be anything like a slogan, logo, graphic, color combination, sound, smell, taste or even your own name.  Exclusive names like iPod or Xerox can be trademarked as well as words like Apple or Windows.  Graphical representation as displayed in Firefox logo showing a fox curved on the lower edge of a globe can also be trademarked as also the specific shape of the Coca-cola bottle along with its color.  Sound trademarks include the Nokia tune and Titan tune which exhibit the signature identity of the products. These examples show the wide range of trademarks that can be offered under various categories.

Obviously, the trademark creates a unique identity for the product which is perceived around the world as the image of the brand. Protection and registration of Trademark take place under Trademark Act 1999 and Trademark Rules 2002.


The trademarks registered in India are valid for ten years from the date of acceptance of registration. They must be renewed after ten years through a payment of prescribed fees.

Territorial Limits:

The registered trademarks are valid only in India unless an International application is filed. If you wish to get the trademark registered internationally, subsequent registration in conventions or foreign nations must be made.


Patent applies when there is any invention or technological or chemical formulation. It protects the inventor against unauthorized manufacturing, usage or trading of the invention. Patents typically protect inventor’s ownership for making betterment in the utility of the invention or the amendment in the design itself that creates a value for the invention. The legislation of Patent protection and registration falls under the Patent Act, 1970 and The Patent Rule 2003.

For example, Hawkins, the reputed pressure cooker company has got all its cooker product range designs patented. Its entire brand of cookers like Futura, Contura etc. has been given a design patent. The design of the cookers are patented because they potentially provide better performance in terms of heat management, energy saving, product durability and strength as well as technical upgradation.

Example of utility patent – An ideal example of a utility patent can be the upgradation from LED TV to OLED TV.  The utility involves changing of diode emitting material from synthetic to organic thereby improving the picture quality as well as decreasing the carbon footprint.


The Indian Patent Office is the governing body and grants a patent with a term of 20 years. It must be renewed from the 3rd year for the consecutive period.

Territorial Limits:

Patent protection laws in India are subject to the geographical boundaries of the nation. In other words, if you file a patent application in India, it is not valid elsewhere.


Copyright protection is provided for literary work, artistic expressions, dramatics, musical or movie production etc. It ensures that the created work cannot be reproduced, adapted, translated or sold without the prior permission of the owner.  Protection of Copyright act comes under The Copyright Act, 1957 and The Copyright Rule 1958. Copyright Registration Law in India and provides protection to the author or creator of the work till his/her lifetime with an additional 60 years.  For example, the Harry Potter series of books have been created and copyrighted by J.K. Rowling the author of the books under her name. Adaptation of Harry Potter movies from the books earned her major royalties owing to her own on the intellectual property and giving her the right over the profits of a movie.

Copyright can be claimed by the original owner of the work without registering for it. IP law provides an automatic protection for original creating of content. However, in case of infringement, the court will accept the registration certificate as a primary evidence of ownership.


Copyright is valid for the Author’s lifetime and 50 years from the end of the year in which the author dies. While it is 50 years for films and sound recordings, the duration is 25 years for a published edition.

Related Topic: What is the difference between Plagiarism & Copyright Infringement