Intellectual property law is a branch of law that deals with the legal protection of intellectual property, which is a type of intangible property that includes things like ideas, inventions, and creative works.

The Copyright Act 1957, Patents Act 1970, Trade Marks Act 1999 are some of the essential laws in India that every freelancer should know about. According to them, anybody who violates the statutes can be severely punished or fined.

What is Intellectual Property for freelancers?

Intellectual property (IP) for freelancers is any type of intangible creation of the human intellect that is used in business. This can include copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. As a freelancer, it is important to be aware of your intellectual property and how to protect it.

Types of Intellectual Property

There are four types of intellectual property: copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets.

1. Trademarks

It safeguards logos, signs, language, or tonality that differentiates your offerings from that of others.

2. Copyrights

This segment always is often controversial. Copyright law protects your original music, background scores, scripts, book, web content, or any creative work. However, a mere creation doesn’t make something copyrightable. For example, an original written work needs to be published to qualify as copyright material. Ideas, facts, concepts, etc. won’t fit under this segment.

3. Patents

Often, businesses patent their innovations because someone else might do the same. Any new solution, creation, process, software, and product design business product falls under this category.

Related Read: How to Apply For a Patent in India?

4. Trade Secret

A trade secret is a piece of information that is not generally known and that is kept secret by a business in order to give it an advantage over its competitors.

For example, Coca-cola has a trade secret of not disclosing the secret ingredient of its beverage.

How to Protect your Intellectual Property?

There are a few ways to protect your intellectual property:

  • Get a patent – A patent will give you the exclusive right to make, use, and sell your invention for a certain period.
  • Get a trademark – A trademark will protect your brand name, logo, or other distinctive marks.
  • Get copyrighted – A copyright will protect your original work of authorship, such as a book, song, or movie.
  • Keep your trade secrets secure – If you have information that is not generally known and that gives you a competitive advantage, keep it secret.

In India, you need to register your Intellectual Property with the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

Remember, be the first to apply for registration.

How to Register for Intellectual Property rights in India?

To avoid unnecessary legal hassles and enjoy your rights, it is mandatory to register your Intellectual Property.

Trademark – Regulation of Trademarks in India is governed under the Trademarks Act, 1999, which abides with the World Trade Organization recommendations and Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement.

Copyright – The Copyright Act, of 1957 (the ‘Act’) came into effect in January 1958. The Act has been amended five times: 1983, 1984, 1992, 1994, 1999, and 2012. The Copyright Act, of 2012 is the most substantial.

Patents – A different ball game, Patent for a product or process should be a unique or new invention and has not been used in the public domain.

Design – As per the Wings of the Patents Office, India, an industrial design refers to the aesthetic aspects of an article. For example, shape or surface, 3D or 2D patterns, lines or colours.

The most important way to avoid any difficulty while defending IP rights in India is to be prepared. Always ensure to create a contract, have a written agreement and negotiate your terms.

After all, it’s your hard work. Don’t let it go in vain.

FAQ’s of Intellectual Property

1. What are the 7 Intellectual Property rights ?

The 7 Intellectual Property rights are Copyright, Trademarks, Patents, Industrial Designs, Geographical Indications, Plant Varieties and Integrated Circuits.

2. Who owns Intellectual Property ?

The owner of Intellectual Property is the person who created it.

3. Why is intellectual property important?

Intellectual property is important because it protects the ideas and inventions of individuals and businesses from being copied or stolen by others. This allows people and companies to profit from their own creativity and hard work, and encourages innovation.

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