Intellectual property rights (IPR) – UPSC Prelims

What are Intellectual Property Rights?
  • Intellectual property rights (IPR) are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, and images used in commerce.
  • Conventions: The importance of intellectual property was first recognized in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property(1883). Later it was also recognized in the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works(1886). The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) administers both treaties.
What is a Patent?
  • Patents are exclusive rights granted by the Government to a company /individual for an invention.
  • Duration: Patents are time-bound. For example: In India patents are granted for a period of 20 years from the date of filing of the patent application.
Important Terms Related to India’s IPR:
  • Evergreening of Patents: Evergreening to a variety of legal, business and technological strategies by which producers extend their patents over products that are about to expire, in order to retain royalties from them.
  • Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act 1970 (as amended in 2005) does not allow patents to be granted to inventions involving new forms of a known substance unless it differs significantly in properties with regard to efficacy. This means that the Indian Patent Act does not allow the evergreening of patents.
  • Compulsory licencing(CL): CL is the grant of permission by the government to entities to use, manufacture, import or sell a patented invention without the patent owner’s consent. The Patents Act in India deals with CL.
  • Compulsory licensing is permitted under the WTO’s TRIPS (IPR) Agreement. The agreement provides conditions such as ‘national emergencies, other circumstances of extreme urgency and anti-competitive practices’ are fulfilled for CL.
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