Intellectual Property Laws of India

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Intellectual Property Laws of India
James Thanickan

When India became a Republic in 1950, India had Intellectual Property legislations on copyrights, patents, designs and trade marks. These were mostly adaptations of the laws of Great Britain in each area and were of general international norms. Subsequently, India modified the Intellectual Property legislations to make them meet national needs and requirements. Pursuant to the country’s joining the World Trade Organisation, India either modified the existing legislations or enacted new legislations in all the intellectual properties identified in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), as per the obligations it committed. There are now specific legislations on Copyrights and Related Rights, Patents, Trade Marks, Designs, Geographical Indications of Goods, Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights, and Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Designs. In addition, India also has legislations on protection of biological diversity and competition. The Indian Intellectual Property legislations are now fully TRIPS compatible. A brief overview of these legislations is presented in the following paragraphs. Copyrights

India has a long history of copyright law enactment. As early as 1857, India passed a law to protect copyrights. Later, another Act was passed in 1862. But the Act which became a milestone was the Copyright Act, 1914. This was based on the Copyright Act, 1911 of the United Kingdom with suitable modifications for India. This Act remained in force until replaced by the present Copyright of 1957 on 21 January 1958. The present legislation was amended periodically in 1983, 1984, 1992, 1994 and 1999 to meet requirements of the times. Presently, a set of amendments is under consideration of the Parliament. Regulations regarding procedures and other matters are prescribed in the Copyright Rules, 1958 as amended from time to time. The Copyright Act extends copyright protection to the following classes of works: (a) Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (b) Cinematograph films, and

(c) Sound recording.
The definition of literary work in the Act is an inclusive definition stating specifically that computer programmes, tables and compilations including computer databases are literary works. Artistic works include architecture but the copyright subsists only in the artistic character and design and not in the process or methods of construction. Copyright will not subsist in any design registered under the Designs Act or an article to which the design has been applied is reproduced more than fifty times by an industrial process. There shall be no copyright in a cinematograph film if a substantial part of the film is an infringement of copyright in any work. Similarly, if a sound recording contains infringing work, then it will not have any copyright. The law makes it also clear that that the separate copyright in any work incorporated in a cinematograph film or sound recording is not affected by the copyright in the cinematograph film or the sound recording. The following rights accrue to the owners of copyright: reproduction, issuing of copies, communication to the public, translation, and adaptation. Similar rights are also available for translations and adaptations. For computer programmes, sale and commercial rental rights have also been provided. In the case of original artistic works, the author is eligible for a share of the resale proceeds also. The Indian law also provides for special rights to claim authorship of the work and to restrain or claim damages in respect of any distortion, mutilation, modification or such other acts on the work. The duration of copyright in India is life plus sixty years. However, in case of cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, government works, works of public under takings and international organisations, the term of copyright is sixty years....
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