The character of world trade has undergone significant changes in the last decade. Many issues have come to the fore to influence the trade patterns. The concerns of environment, assertions on human rights the sympathy (?!), for child labour, to mention a few, have, been exerting dominant influences. Transfer of polluting industries to the developing nations, using poor economies for pollution control are all totally new issues defying the relevance of the traditional theories of trade.
On another front, the measures of protecting intellectual property rights and its trade related aspects gained momentum in the meanwhile. It is not that these were not dealt with in the international trade earlier, but the scope and coverage of the trade-linked intellectual property rights got enlarged at the behest of the developed nations and the measures such as the protection of geographical indications got place in the WTO charter.
To understand the underpinnings better, let us have an overview what incorporates the intellectual property rights:
Loosely defined, intellectual property is a "product of mind". It is similar to any property consisting of movable or immovable things wherein the proprietor or owner may use his property as he wishes and nobody else can lawfully use his property without his permission.
The convention establishing the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) in 1967, one of the specialized agencies of the United Nation system, provided that intellectual property rights shall include "rights relating to: • Literary, artistic and scientific work
• Performance of performing artists, phonograms and broadcasts • Inventions in all fields of Human endeavor
• Scientific discoveries. (No national laws or International treaties, as on date, give any property rights to scientific discoveries.) • Industrial designs
• Trademarks, service marks, and commercial names and designations • Protection against unfair competition and all other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields."
(No national laws or international treaties, as on date, give any property rights to scientific discoveries).
PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
The owner can best protect his property if he keeps it out of the eyes and knowledge of the world. But in this situation the progress of the, nation will be hampered and also the owner or the property will not be in a position to use his property at his will. Therefore, appropriate national legislations govern the intellectual property rights (IPRs).
The national legislations specifically describe the inventions, which are the subject matter of protection and those, which are excluded from the protection. For example, methods of treatment of the humans or animals by surgery or therapy and inventions whose use would be contrary to the law or morality; or inventions, injurious to public health are excluded from patentability in the Indian legislation.
A patent is a government granted and secured legal right to prevent others from practicing -i.e., making, using, hiring, or selling - the inventions covered by the patent.
A patent is an exclusive right granted by a country to the owner of the invention, provided the invention satisfies certain conditions stipulated in the law. This right is available only for a limited period of time. However, the use or exploration of a patent may be affected by other laws of the country which has awarded the patent. These laws may relate to health, safety, food, security etc. Further, existing patents in similar area may also come in the way.
A patent in the law is a property right and hence, can be gifted, inherited, assigned, sold or licensed. As the right is conferred by the state, it can also be revoked by the state, though under, very special circumstances, even...