TRIPs and India’s intellectual property rights regime

The TRIPs (Trade Related Intellectual Property) regime has emerged as the basic framework for ensuring intellectual property rights across the world. It is not the universal Intellectual property law. But it provides a basic framework. Every member of WTO should include TRIPs provisions in their domestic intellectual property legislations.

Intellectual property regime is anchored by legislations in the corresponding fields. With the establishment of WTO and the international enforcement of its various provisions; India also has made corresponding changes in the intellectual property regime.

The intellectual property right regime of the country has been modified by a number of legislation since 1995. For India, the WTO’s TRIPs agreement became binding from 2005 onwards as the country has got a ten-year transition period (1995-2005) to make the domestic legislation compatible with TRIPs. Here, India has got additional five-year transition period because of not having product patent regime in critical sector like pharmaceutical. Hence, existing laws were amended and fresh legislations were introduced during this period.

Different amendments to the various existing Acts- Patent Amendment Act (2005), Copy right Amendment Act (2010), are made to strengthen domestic legal framework to fulfill the harmonization with the WTO’s TRIPS agreement. Similarly, a number of fresh legislations are made to upgrade the country’s intellectual property regime. The following are the main legislations made to accommodate the TRIPs envisaged IPRs rights.

1. Patents: Patent Amendments: Patent amendment Act 1999, 2002 and 2005

2. Protection of Traditional Knowledge under Patent Amendment Act 2002

3. Industrial Designs: the Design Act, 1999

4. Trademarks: A new Trademarks Act 1999 has been enacted (The Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958).

5. Copyrights: The Copyrights Act 1957 has been amended in 1983, 1984, 1992, 1994, 1999 and 2010. The latest amendment of 2010 became effective from 2012 onwards.

6. Geographical indications: The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act) 1999.

7. Layout design of integrated circuits: The Semiconductor Integrated Circuit Layout Design Act, 2000

8. Plant Varieties: The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act 2001.

                          The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 also supports the IPR regime of the country. Several modifications are also expected in the immediate future to fine tune the country’s IPR regime in the post TRIPs environment.

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