IPR Law History: IPR Club OurLegalWorld

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IPR Law History: IPR Club OurLegalWorld

Written by Tanya Thakur



Whether they are moveable or immovable, tangible properties have a physical presence and structure. They have been acknowledged as goods since the beginning of time. In contrast, intangible assets have only recently been acknowledged as assets, let alone given protection under intellectual property rights.

A brand is surrounded by several Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Let’s use a smartphone as an illustration of today’s most prevalent necessity. There are numerous layers of IP rights protecting it. Trademark protection extends to a brand’s name, logo, words linked with the logo, colour scheme, and even the logo’s shape and size. Similar to this, patents are used to protect the technologies found inside phones.

A phone’s case, water-resistant components, networking and data storage systems, sensors, and electromagnetic applications are all covered by patents. Furthermore, Copyrights safeguard the source codes that form the foundation of programmes on a phone.

Thus, intellectual property is something that is both inside of us and outside of us, something that we depend on to survive.

Definition of Intellectual Property:

When referring to intellectual property,

original designs,

Products made by humans,

Organizational identifiers, product and service identifiers, or

items that are special and have a local characteristic.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, an intellectual property is an intangible good produced by creativity.

The innovations, literary and artistic works, designs, and symbols, names, and pictures used in commerce are all examples of intellectual property (IP), according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the international forum for intellectual property.

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), intellectual property rights are the privileges people have over the works of their imagination. For a specific amount of time, they often grant the creator the sole right to utilise their work.

An IPR, however, extends beyond the simple ability to forbid others from making, distributing, or utilising the protected asset. Additionally, it is made clear that the holder will have the ability to transfer or lease the rights for legitimate business or other purposes. This covers the ability to duplicate, sell, and distribute the asset.

History of IPR:

Medieval Europe is at least as far back as intellectual property law can be traced. When the phrase “intellectual property” was first used as a phrase in a piece of writing that appeared in the Monthly Review in 1769, it was the first instance of its use that is recorded.

The deveopment of trademarks, copyrights, and patents at the international level has been further explained:

Patents’ history and origin:

 It is possible to trace the beginning of patents to the year 1331. King Edward III of England made history on July 16, 1331, by granting king’s protection via a letter’s patent. It was granted to John Kemp, a Flemish woollen clothing weaver. The queen gave Kemp permission to make use of his discovery and to trade in wool clothing produced in England using his craft.

In addition, he was granted the freedom to choose who he wanted to learn his weaving method from. Kemp was thus granted exclusive rights to produce and share his knowledge and abilities as a result of the protection. This decision is fundamental to modern patents in many respects.

Letters patent, which were granted by monarchs to provide monopolies over specific businesses using innovative technology, were the ancestors of patents. This authority was frequently abused and utilised primarily to raise money for the crown. Elizabeth I made extensive use of this system, granting patents even for everyday items like salt, grain, etc. The dispute between the Parliament and the Crown was sparked by these evil monopolies, and it was finally resolved in 1601. The decision was made to give common law courts control over patent administration.

Elizabeth I also abolished a number of other harmful and constrictive monopolies at the same time. James I, Elizabeth’s first heir, still kept using patents to establish monopolies. However, James I of England was compelled to abolish all monopolies after widespread protest. This was included in the Statute of Monopolies, in which the Parliament expressly limited the Crown’s authority to allow for the introduction of letter patents to the creators of original innovations for a set period of time.

Origin in India: The Act VI of 1856 was the country’s first piece of law pertaining to patents. The goal was to promote inventions and get innovators to divulge their inventions’ secrets. Act XV of 1859, a new piece of legislation, was afterwards introduced to provide exclusive privilege. The measure was renamed The Patterns and Designs Protection Act in 1872, nevertheless. The 1883 amendment was the only change made to the law during its 30-year lifespan.

All prior laws in India were repealed by the Indian Patents and Design Act. This act created provisions for the granting of secret patents, patents for additions, and extending the duration of a patent from 14 to 16 years. Following independence, several committees were established to look at the changes to the law, and as a result, a bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha in 1965 but failed to pass. Although it expired in 1965, a revised measure was filed in 1967, and on the committee’s final suggestion, the Patents Act, 1970, which is currently in use in India, was enacted.

Also Read: Issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights in India

Origin And History Of Copyright:

 The development of copyright followed a pattern quite similar to that of patents, which granted select writers and printers the exclusive right to produce books and other works. The goal of this was not to safeguard the rights of authors but rather to increase government revenue and give it more authority over publishing.

For instance, the Stationers’ Company’s monopoly was established in England in 1556 with the express purpose of assisting in limiting the influence of the Protestant Reformation movement. The corporation was given authority over the whole printing sector, allowing the government and the church to halt the spread of ideas.

The 1710 passage of the Statute of Anne was a turning point in the development of copyright legislation. It acknowledged that authors should be the principal beneficiaries of copyright laws and that these copyright notions should have a limited lifespan (at the time fixed at 28 years), after which the work would enter the public domain. In France in 1793 and the United States in 1790, similar laws were passed.

Origin in India: A legislation passed under the East India Company’s rule in 1847 brought copyright protection to India. The copyright’s term at the time was 42 years + 7 years post-mortem. If the copyright holder refused to allow the publication of a work after the author’s passing, the government might issue a compulsory licence. In order to enforce rights under this act, copyright registration was required.

Under the British Raj, the Indian government of the time passed a new copyright law in 1914 that was remarkably similar to the United Kingdom Copyright Act of 1911. There weren’t many significant differences, though. The most significant one is that it created sections 7 to 12 that established criminal penalties for copyright infringement. The 1911 Act was changed numerous times up to 1957, and as a result, independent India passed the Copyright Act that year in order to comply with the Berne Convention’s rules. The most recent modification to the 1957 Act was made in 2012.

Trademark Origin and History:

In England, trademarks have been used since the 13th century. The first people to benefit from trademarks were bakers. Trademark laws were enacted in England in 1266, under the reign of King Henry III. In England, bakers utilised their own distinguishing mark to identify their goods from one another.

The Merchandise Act in England was passed in 1862, while the first contemporary trademark legislation dates to France in 1857. The Bass Brewery’s label, which featured a three-triangle emblem signifying ale, was the first trademark in the UK to be filed in 1876.

The maxim Nobody has the right to represent their goods as belonging to someone else, and the same goes for passing off their goods as belonging to someone else. These rules were established in a case where a clothier who had built a solid reputation by stamping his name on his own creations was used by another person to deceive and profit. Following that, the Courts made these principles the law. They labelled such disagreements as “passing off” and provided remedies.

Origin India: The 1940 Trademark Act, which was adapted from the 1938 British Trademark Act, was the country’s first trademark-related law. The Trade and Merchandise Act, 1958 was also passed after independence. Numerous changes were made up until December 30, 1999, when the Trade Mark Act, 1999, which is currently in effect in India, was established.

The two main needs met by this act are to: a) shield the owner from chaos and competitor mark duplication. b) protect the company, commerce, and goodwill that the trademark owner has built up.


Intellectual property refers to anything that was created with the human mind, including literature, machines, and logos. This mental production is valuable since it significantly boosts the economy of the country. These breakthroughs are encouraged, and entrepreneurs are rewarded in many ways.

The idea of intellectual property has been around for a very long time and is regarded by industries as one of the most significant rights. While many sectors have relied on these rights for the protection of their work for generations, consumers use intellectual property (IP) to ensure that they buy products that are safe, legitimate, and guaranteed.