Intellectual property means knowledge or information in any form which has a commercial value and Intellectual property rights can be defined as a ideas, inventions and creations i.e. Copyright, Patent, Trademark, Design are some of the types of Intellectual Properties. Intellectual Property rights are intangible rights that are referred to as the creation of the mind.


The IT Act, 2000 has addressed the misuse of technology in form of cybercrimes. It has however failed to discuss Intellectual Property issues and its protection. Nowadays, cybercrime encompasses fraud, cyberbullying, identity theft, and the infringement of numerous businesses’ and organizations’ copyrights and trademark.  With the advancement of technology, cyberspace has become accessible to everyone. As a result, cyberspace has become a business platform, putting more pressure on intellectual property. We have laws in place to prevent the infringement of intellectual property rights in cyberspace, and we also have legal remedies in place if they are infringe. 


Enactments to protect IPR in India:


In the year 1999, the government passed an important legislation based on international practices to safeguard the intellectual property rights. They are:-

  1. The Patents (Amendment) Act, 1999 [It offers exclusive marketing rights for a time of five years.]
  2.  The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1999.
  3. The Trademarks Bill, 1999.
  4. Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Bill, 1999.
  5. The Industrial Designs Bill, 1999, replaced the Designs Act, 1911.
  6. The Patents (Second Amendment) Bill, 1999, [for further amending the Patents Act of 1970 in compliance with the TRIPS.]


Other Laws:


  1. Section 51 of Copyrights Act, 1957.
  2. Section 79 Information Technology Act, 2000.
  3. Section 75 Information Technology Act, 2000. [cybercrimes committed outside India]
  4. Section 4 Indian Penal Code, 1860. [outside India targeting a computer resource located in India]


International Laws to protect IPR in Cyber world:


The various international conventions treaties and agreements for protection of intellectual property in cyberspace are: 


  1. Berne Convention (1886).
  2. Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Trademarks (1891).
  3.  Hague Agreement Concerning the Registration of International Designs (1925).
  4.  Rome Convention for Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (1961).
  5.  Patent Cooperation Treaty (1970).
  6. Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (1994).
  7. World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (1996).
  8. World Intellectual Property Organization Performances and Phonograms Treaty (1996).
  9. Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (1999).


Some case laws for infringement of IPR related to cyberspace:


  1. Trademark issues in cyberspace:

      Google Inc. v. Mr Racha Ravinder: In this case the defendant has registered the website “googlenetbiz.com” which was confusingly similar to the trademark Google, which was registered globally. Google was also a well know Trademark. . It was submitted that the respondent had a Bad faith in registering their web site so as to confuse the web users and it violates the Trademark as it is identical and deceptive similar to the worldwide Trademark ‘Google’. The panel decision favored the complainant and ordered the transfer of the site to Google Inc.

  2. Copyright issues in cyberspace

      A&M Records Inc. v. Napster Inc.: One of the world’s best-known cases of infringements of digital copyright is Napster Case. Napster was sued by A&M Records Inc. for sharing P2P files (media files), from one’s computer to some other person who uses Napster. The music firms have been seeking USD 1,000,000 for each copyright-protected song downloaded through Napster since the case was filed. A final settlement was made where Napster had to pay some future profit to other parties and Napster Inc. was shut down in 2000.


Despite of all these legislation there is a need for a regulatory law for Intellectual property rights protection in cyberspace. Infringement of intellectual property rights in cyberspace is a difficult area to enforce legally. With this rapid growth in e-commerce and an increase in the use of the internet, protecting intellectual property is vital. It is necessary to look at this issue seriously and have separate legislation protecting the Intellectual property in the cyber world.

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