Author: Sagar Sehrawat
The Intellectual Property Rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. The significant increase in the technology has increased the scope of intellectual property rights immensely. The increase in technology has also increased the cases of infringement of intellectual property rights. There has been a lack of awareness among citizens of their intellectual property rights. Infringement cases arise due to lack of awareness among entrepreneurs. Protecting the intellectual property rights vis, a vis improving technology like internet is a big challenge. New inventions such as photocopying machine, typewriter, computer, et cetera are all a threat to the intellectual property rights. Statistics reflect that majority of IP infringement cases in India involve a small enterprise being unaware of the basics of IP rights. Lack of awareness among citizens and entrepreneurs is the biggest challenge which needs to be looked into by the authorities. Old laws cannot meet with challenges posed by new technologies. New technology is posing a challenge of maintaining a legal framework where Intellectual Property Rights are protected. The government needs to find a balance in protecting intellectual property rights and limiting the liberties of citizens.
The Intellectual Property Rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. These are the rights given to persons over their intellectual property like inventions, creation of mind et cetera. Intellectual property is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. The intellectual property is not a new concept as it has been prominent since ages. Rights over the intellectual property are also prominent since ages. There have been laws to protect the rights of the intellectual property holders since many centuries.
Day by day new issues and challenges are emerging in the field of Intellectual Property Rights. One of the biggest issues is protecting intellectual property rights in the contemporary world is technology. The significant increase in the technology has increased the scope of intellectual property rights immensely. The technology has made our lives easier but it has also impacted the intellectual property rights to a large extent. The increase in technological advancement like internet has increased the scope of infringement of intellectual property rights. Protecting the intellectual property rights vis, a vis improving technology like internet is a big challenge. The government faces a challenge to protect the rights of Intellectual Property holders as well as safe guarding the liberty of citizens by not limiting the new technologies like internet.
The increase in technology has also increased the cases of infringement of intellectual property rights. Trends in copyright shows that a total number of 16617 applications were received during 2016-2017. During the reporting year, total number of applications examined was 16584 whereas 3596 Register of Copyright (ROC) were generated and 12988 new discrepant letters were issued. Trends in Trademarks shows that the number of applications examined increased by 98.7%, whereas number of registrations of trademarks showed a phenomenal increase of 284.5%. Disposal of applications, which includes registered, refused, withdrawn and abandoned applications, increased by 150% as compared to 2015 -16. After signing of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement and the introduction of the product patent regime in India since 2005, patent litigations have been on the rise.
Technology and Intellectual Property Laws
We have seen an immense increase in the use of technology, especially since the last century. The industrial revolution in Britain as well as new inventions in the past century till this date have improved our lives for the good. There are two sides of the same coin and for technology, the case is no different. It has undoubtedly increased growth in society economically and socially but has also created new problems to tackle. The onset of technological growth rapidly has brought in it with new challenges. Now one of the biggest challenges in the field of intellectual property rights is protecting the liberty of citizens to use technology and at the same time protecting intellectual property rights of the individual. Some of the new inventions in technology which directly affect the intellectual property rights are:
- Xerox machine: A duplicator that copies graphic matter by the action of light on an electrically charged photoconductive insulating surface in which the latent image is developed with a resinous powder. Xerox machine can be used to copy any graphical work. Since the invention of Xerox machine, the copyright infringement cases have increased drastically. This is due to the fact that a copying machine can copy any content of work in a matter of few minutes or even seconds.
- The Personal Computer: Personal computer is one of the most significant inventions in technology that has changed the world. Personal computer consists of numerous programs and applications within it which can aide infringing the intellectual property rights. One common feature existent in all PCs is copying and pasting option.
- Internet: The internet is a vast network that connects computers all over the world. It helps in exchanging information, socializing, and has numerous benefits. The internet is loaded with features that can aide in infringing intellectual property rights.
- Social Media: Social media are interactive technologies that allow the creation or sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. The social media makes it more difficult to track the persons liable for infringing intellectual property rights. This is because people tend to create fake profiles on social media.
- Computer Software’s: Apart from features like simple copying and pasting provided by the Operating System like Windows, Mac, et cetera. There exist many applications and software’s like photoshop which aide the infringement of Intellectual Property Rights.
In the contemporary world protecting Intellectual Property Rights is a big challenge. Not only we have to protect Intellectual Property Rights but we also have to create a framework where inventions of new technologies are promoted. The protection of intellectual property rights should not hamper the development and growth in technology. Positive technological development is the need of the hour.
The field of Intellectual Property Rights is changing significantly day by day. So, another challenge which arises is legal development which meets the changing position of Intellectual Property Rights.
Old laws cannot meet with challenges posed by new technologies. New technology is posing a challenge of maintaining a legal framework where Intellectual Property Rights are protected. A new set of rules and regulations need to be created where we do not have to amend the laws every four to five years. A long-lasting set of rules and regulations which protects the intellectual property rights in emerging technology.
People in India are still not fully aware of there rights regarding Intellectual Properties. This is a big challenge considering India as one of the largest users of internet and social media in the world. Protecting IPRs can be a tough proposition in India, where awareness is low and enforcement weak. But protecting patents, trademarks and copyrights are vital for innovation and development. However, even with rapid progress on the industrial, scientific and economic front, we lag behind countries like China. Good IPR protection will foster a culture of creativity and innovation that could help us close that soon.
The impact of IPR in India has led the government to take steps to enhance the IPR regime in the country. In 2016, it approved the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, which will lay the future roadmap for intellectual property in India. It aims to increase awareness, stimulate the creation of IPRs, ensure strong and effective IPR laws, redressal and modernization of IPR administration, among other things.
Under this policy, the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) was created for simplifying and streamlining of IP processes, apart from undertaking steps for furthering IPR awareness, commercialization and enforcement.
Other Challenges and Issues
It is evident that generally most people in India lags awareness about their rights regarding intellectual property. While most of the people lags the education about IP Rights, there are many literates who even misuse their knowledge. There are many people who by knowingly engage in infringement activities for financial gains. So, we not only have to educate our people but also make strict rules and laws so that the education doesn’t go to waste.
There are many MNC’s which misuse their rights of patenting. IPR protection in agriculture is a sensitive topic in India. Under the TRIPs agreement, subsidies like minimum support prices for agricultural produce and those for fertilizer etc. have to be phased out. Since issues of food security and livelihoods are involved here, political parties are unlikely to allow this to happen anytime soon. There has also been some resistance from farmers to the patenting of seeds by multinational corporations.
In the political and economic context, we have to keep in mind the increasing globalization of many factors, not only technology but also markets; companies; social, economic, and political relationships; and environmental and other issues. We are living in the midst of a rapidly changing scene in which international economic competition, especially in high-technology trade, is emerging as a major—perhaps the major—international political issue for the future. It is replacing security competition.
As the technology is advancing and new innovations are coming into the world to ease our life, so are the drawbacks of the same. Same is the case with the intellectual property rights. As the new technology is emerging day by day, protecting the intellectual property rights of the individuals is becoming more and more complex and difficult. The internet is the biggest challenge of the government. New inventions such as photocopying machine, typewriter, computer, et cetera are all a threat to the intellectual property rights. Statistics reflect that majority of IP infringement cases in India involve a small enterprise being unaware of the basics of IP rights. Lack of awareness among citizens and entrepreneurs is the biggest challenge which needs to be looked into by the authorities. The government needs to find a balance in protecting intellectual property rights and limiting the liberties of citizens.
- Challenges to Intellectual Property Rights in Cyberspace by Subhasis Saha (Author)