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India provides protection to Intellectual Property Rights in accordance with its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement of the WTO. The importance of intellectual property in India is well established at all levels- statutory, administrative and judicial.

India has well-established administrative mechanism for enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights. Police officers are empowered to take action against the infringement of IPRs in case of pirated and counterfeit products.

Cases of infringement of IPRs are tried in the judicial courts. Indian Intellectual Property Rights Laws also provide for appeals in the judicial courts of the administrative decisions relating to Intellectual Property Rights.

The Intellectual Property Rights protected under various statues in India are as follows:-

» Patents
» Copyrights and related rights
» Trademarks
» Geographical indications
» Plant varieties
» Designs
» Lay out designs of integrated circuits

Patents

India has undertaken exhaustive amendment of its Patents Act 1970, three times since 1999. Now Indian Patents Act is fully compliant with India's obligations under the TRIPS Agreement of the WTO. The three amendments that were carried out since 1999, introduced the following main changes in the old Patents Act:-

1. India carried out first amendment in the Patents Act in 1999 and introduced exclusive marketing rights and mail box facility for inventions relating to chemical and pharmaceutical products. India introduced these transitory provisions as India had availed of the transition period available till 01 January 2005 to developing countries in introducing product patent protection to all areas.

2. India carried out an exhaustive 2nd amendment to the Patents Act in year 2001. This amendment brought the Indian Patents Act in compliance with India's obligations under the TRIPS Agreement.

3. India again carried out 3rd amendment of the Patents Act in year 2005 and introduced product patents protection for chemicals and pharmaceutical products.

Detailed information about the Indian Patents Act is available at the website of Controller of Patents, Designs and Trademarks at:
http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/patent/patents.htm

The Patents Act 1970:
http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/patent/patAct1970-3-99.html

The Patents (Amendment) Act 1999:
http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/patent/patact_99.PDF

The Patents (Amendment) Act 2002:
http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/patent/patentg.pdf

The Patents (Amendment) Act 2005:
http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/patent/patent_2005.pdf

For Patent e-filing service please visit :
https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/epatentfiling/goForLogin/doLogin

Copyrights and related rights

India's copyright law, laid down in the Indian Copyright Act 1957 as amended by Copyright (Amendment) Act 1999, fully reflects the Berne Convention on Copyrights, to which India is a party. Additionally, India is party to the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Rights of Producers of phonograms and to the Universal Copyright Convention.

The copyright law has been amended periodically to keep pace with changing requirements. The recent amendment to the copyright law, which came into force in May 1995, has ushered in comprehensive changes and brought the copyright law in line with the developments in satellite broadcasting, computer software and digital technology. The amended law has made provisions for the first time, to protect performer's rights as envisaged in the Rome Convention.

Several measures have been adopted to strengthen and streamline the enforcement of copyrights. These include the setting up of a Copyright Enforcement Advisory Council, training programmes for enforcement officers and setting up special policy cells to deal with cases relating to infringement of copyrights.

For further details please visit: www.copyright.gov.in

Trademarks

India provides trademark protection for marks of goods and services, collective marks, certification trademarks and well-known marks under the Trademarks Act 1999.

Application for registration of a trademark should be filed with the trademark registry. Trademark is registered after publication in the trademarks journal to invite opposition and after further examination. Registration is not must for protection, however, it is mandatory for taking action against infringement. Registration is valid for an initial period of ten years and can be renewed for further period of ten years.

Police officers are empowered and seized without warrant the counterfeit goods and machinery used to commit the offence. Penalties ranging from six months to three years and fines have been prescribed in the Act for trademarks violations.

Further details regarding trademarks protection are available at the website of Controller of Patents, Designs and Trademarks
http://ipindia.nic.in/tmr_new/default.htm

Trademarks Act 1999
http://ipindia.nic.in/tmr_new/tmr_act_rules/tmr_act.pdf

Trademarks Rules 2002
http://ipindia.nic.in/tmr_new/tmr_act_rules/tmr_rules_2002.pdf

Geographical indications

Protection to geographical indications is provided under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999.

A geographical indication may be registered with the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks for all goods originating in a definite territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory. The Geographical Indications Act provides for additional protection of higher level to goods notified by the Central Government. Registration of a geographical indication is for ten years with possible renewal for further ten-year periods.

Further details regarding geographical indications protection are available at the website of Controller of Patents Trademarks and Designs
http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/gi/geo_ind.htm

The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999
http://wbbb.nic.in/Legislations/rules/TheGeographicalIndicationofGoodsAct1999.pdf

The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules 2002
http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/gi/Girule~1.PDF

Protection of Plant varieties

Protection to plant varieties is provided by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act 2001. This Act provides an effective system for protection of plant varieties and farmers' rights to stimulate investments for R&D both in public and private sectors for the development of new plant varieties by ensuring appropriate returns on such investment. This Act complies with India's obligations under Article 27.3 (b) of the TRIPS Agreement of the WTO by providing an effective sui generis system for protection of plant varieties.

New plant varieties could be registered under this Act for Plant Breeder Rights based on the international criteria of newness, distinctiveness, uniformity and stability. The essentially derived varieties are also registered under this Act based on internationally accepted criteria. This Act also has some unique features like benefit sharing, community rights, gene funds, compulsory licensing etc. Penal provisions are also provided in this Act against infringement of Plant Breeder Rights.

A Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority has been constituted to administer this Act. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights rules have also been framed under this Act. Applications for plant varieties should be filed with the Authority. Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India is the administrative department for implementation of this Act.

Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture
http://agricoop.nic.in/

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act 2001
http://agricoop.nic.in/PPV&FR%20Act,%202001.pdf

Industrial Designs

The Designs Act 2000 provides to protection to registered designs in accordance with India's obligations under the TRIPS Agreement.

Independently created designs that are new or original are protected under this Act. The Act provides a right to the owner of the registered industrial design to prevent third parties not having his consent from making, selling or importing articles being or embodying a design, which is a copy or substantially a copy of the protected design when such acts are undertaken for commercial purposes. The duration of the protection is ten years.

For further details, visit the website of Controller of Patents Designs and Trademarks at http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/design/designs.htm

General Information Booklet for Applicants of Designs: http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/design/design_proc.htm

The Designs Act 2000: http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/design/design_act.PDF

The Designs Rules 2001: http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/design/des_rule.PDF

The Designs (Amendment) Rules 2003: http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/design/design_r_03.pdf

Lay out designs of integrated circuits

The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act 2000 provides protection to semiconductor integrated circuits layout designs in accordance with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.

The Act provides for exclusive rights to the registered proprietor of a layout design and also to the registered users. Applications for registration of layout designs could be filed with the Registrar. Appeals against the orders of the Registrar could be filed with the Appellate Board. The Act also provides for criminal prosecution for infringement of layout designs.

The administration department for implementation of the Act is Department of information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India. Relevant Act is Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act 2000.

For further information please visit: www.deity.gov.in