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Career in Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are mainly statutory rights that allow the creator or owner of the product/work to prevent others from exploiting the same commercially for a certain period of time. These rights make the creator/inventor as the owner of the product/work.

Intellectual Property is a complex issue. Intellectual Property Laws, as the name suggests, is the creation and outcome of the human intellect. Rights attached to such creation of property from the human mind are referred to as IPR.

IPR is not a modern concept, its roots can be traced back in the 15th century when invention of the printing press enabled copying of literary works. This illegitimate copying led to the emergence of certain statutes to protect individual creations and inventions. That was the beginning of the journey of IPRs that has now taken a global shape in the form of World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

 The importance of intellectual property rights can be gauged from the fact that almost every country including India has specific laws to protect the various forms of intellectual property.

Increasing importance of IPR in the modern world

Against the backdrop of the worldwide economic developments whereby trade agreements and negotiations are increasingly being governed by global concerns, there is an urgent need for an exhaustive and detailed study of Intellectual Property Laws.

Companies who have created and protected their intellectual property today rule world commerce. No company embodies this better than Microsoft, which has been built entirely on the strength of its software programs that are protected through copyright. Protection of intellectual property has become so important that companies today carry out intellectual property audits to identify their intellectual wealth and form special departments to manage them.

Thus, products (e.g., DVDs) are protected by patents, software (e.g., Windows) by copyright, goodwill (e.g., the logo of Mercedes Benz) by trademarks, appearance (design of a Rolex watch) by designs and spatial arrangements of the components on a microchip (Pentium IV) by semiconductor layout-designs.

Complex subject

The specific legal issues that arise in relation to the management of intellectual property (IP) vary from industry to industry. In the music and entertainment industry, copyright law would be an important consideration, and with rapidly improving satellite transmission and digital technology, copyright law is gaining pivotal importance. On the other hand, for novelty in engineering designs, laws pertaining to industrial designs would apply, whereas for the knowledge based industry which is research driven, patents would be of most importance.

To understand clearly which IPR applies to which form of intangible asset is a complex issue. Further, the question of how and where to apply for the protection, and thereafter with whom the rights vest, at times is difficult to ascertain. These rights and laws vary differently in each country. Profit sharing between individuals, between companies and inventors, inventors and industry too is defined and limited by local rules and laws. Hence, it is very relevant and important to know and to be able to appreciate a larger perspective of IP law, not merely from a legal standpoint but also from the perspective of the industry.

Types of IPRs

IPRs are wide and diverse– Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Industrial Designs, Geographical Indications and Trade Secrets, and impact issues such as Confidential Information, Transfer of Technology, Licensing, etc.

As there are several ways and means of protecting the tangible assets, similarly, there are several tools to safeguard the intangible properties i.e. a book, a poem, a scientific or technological invention, industrial or agricultural creation, a broadcast, a film or anything that is created originally by human resources.

Following are the tools of protecting originality and creativity:

  • Trade mark: A trade mark can be a logo, a symbol, word, phrase, jingle, picture, sound or even smell or a combination of all these which is used to distinguish one work/service from another. Trademark provides a distinct identity to a particular good/service and thus protects it from being copied.
  • Trade Secrets: Trade secret protection is a safeguard to protect the secrets of a product or work.
  • Patent: A patent is the right of an individual or group of individuals in the form of a company/organisation to gain profit from a particular invention or unique manufacturing process. A patent is basically an intellectual property relating to scientific and technological inventions. A patent is granted by the government of the country to the applicant and gives the inventor the right for a limited period to prevent others from using that invention in any form without permission. When a patent is granted, the inventor becomes the owner of the patent. Like any other form of property, a patent can be transacted purchased, sold or even mortgaged.
  • Copyright: It is a tool protecting the original literary works i.e. books, novels, Iyrics, songs, computer programmes etc. The, moment these creations come into existence, they become the property of the creator.
  • Design: A design is the presentation of the whole or part of a product resulting from the features, of colour, size, shape, texture or materials of a product or its packaging.
IPR education

There are a number of courses being offered in the field of IP. Most law courses have a module or offer specialization in IP. A number of institutes are also offering PG diploma, diploma and certificate courses; full time, part time as well as in distance learning.

The courses are suitable for working professionals as well as students aspiring to a career in IP. The courses in IPR have been designed keeping in mind not only the law student but also the legal professional who wants to venture into this exciting field. Corporate and business organizations would also benefit immensely from these courses, as they would help them identify and harness the intellectual wealth produced by their organizations.


Applicants should have a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent in any discipline from a recognised Indian or Foreign University. Candidates in the final year of Bachelor’s Degree Course may also apply.

Potential employers  

  • FMCGs and durable goods industries
  • Law firms
  • Institutes/firms/companies working on agriculture
  • Institutes offering courses in IPR
  • Software companies
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Institutes/ companies/organisat­ions working on science and technology

Educational institutes

  • Amity Law School, New Delhi
  • Bioinformatics Institute of India
  • Asian School of Cyber Laws, Pune
  • Indian Law institute, New Delhi Delhi
  • Institute of Intellectual Property Studies, Mumbai/li>
  • Symbiosis Society's Law College, Pune
  • Express Pharma Pulse, Mumbai
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University
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