Types of Intellectual Property Rights in India

Intellectual property is a special category created by human intelligence in art, science, literature, trade etc.

As Intellectual property is a unique creation of the mind, it is intangible. So, intellectual property rights are the privileges given to the creator to reveal their creation in the public domain. But it does not apply to material things like books, computers, mobiles, etc.

With different types of intellectual property creator has the right to use, sell, distribute, offer, or restrict others from using it.

Intellectual property law

Intellectual property is so broad that it has many aspects, yet many nations have not fully discovered the area. Intellectual property was originally a concept designed to cover the ownership of literary or artistic work by patent and trademark.

The thing protected in intellectual property is the form of the work, the invention and the relationship between the symbol and business.

However, the concept now covers the patent, trademark, artistic work, designs, model, neighbouring rights and plant production rights which protect from unfair competition.

In simpler words, the inventor of the machine, writer of music, or author of the book usually ‘owns’ their work.

From this ownership, no one can copy or buy a copy of that work without their permission.

Nature and scope of intellectual property

Intellectual property means the legal right which aims at safeguarding the rights of the creator or inventor by granting them a certain time limit to control the use of their production.

Article 2(viii) states that intellectual property includes:

  • Literary, artistic and scientific work,
  • Phonogram and broadcast,
  • Inventions of human endeavour,
  • Scientific discoveries,
  • Industrial design,
  • Trademark, service mark and commercial name,
  • Protection against unfair competition,
  • And all the other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic field.

The area aforesaid mentioned as literary, artistic and scientific work covers the copyright branch of intellectual property.

The area mentioned before as phonogram and broadcast covers the ‘related rights,’ i.e. rights related to copyright.

The area mentioned before as invention, industrial design, trademark, service mark and commercial name is constituted in an industrial property branch of intellectual property.

The scope of intellectual property covers:

  1. Trademark
  2. Patent
  3. Literary work
  4. Artistic work
  5. Trade name
  6. Designs
  7. Models
  8. Neighbouring rights
  9. Typographics
  10. Plant production rights
  11. Semiconductor products
  12. Databases
  13. Trade secrets
  14. Unfair competition
  15. Industrial design
  16. Performances

Types of intellectual property rights

Trade secret

A trade secret is among the types of intellectual property that refers to the private information of a business that is not known to everyone. While businesses have lots of information, not every piece of information is a trade secret. It is generally a secret not known to everyone, and reasonable efforts have been made to keep it confidential.

Examples: new inventions, processes and market strategies

A trade secret is a secret you don’t want your competitor to learn. If the company doesn’t take suitable actions to keep a secret, it loses the ability to claim a trade secret.

For example, suppose a company has handed a confidential future marketing strategy to another person without mentioning it as a non-disclosure agreement or failed to label it as personal. In that case, it will not be covered under the trade secret.


Copyright is among the types of intellectual property that protects the original work of authorship, painting, photography, music composition, recording, blog posts, books, movies, architectural work and computer programmes.

For example:- if you don’t want your work to get reused by any other person without your permission, you have the right to copyright your work.


The patent is limited-period security to protect an invention. When a property owner holds the patent right, under the law, another person cannot offer to sell, make or use the product.

The inventor has discovered anything new for any business and would like to take it to the market. The inventor makes a patent for that thing so that no one else can claim your idea.

For example- If you have any unique ideas about revolutionary water. You know that it can benefit several people, and you can protect your idea by filing a patent right.

There are three types of patent rights:-

  • Utility patent
  • Design patent
  • Plant patent

A patent is generally expensive to handle, as there are yearly fees to maintain the right.


Any word, phrase, symbol, design and combination of these which defines your goods can be trademarked. It distinguished one source of goods from the other.

For example- a symbol of any brand that can be easily identified

Trademark can be a brand identifier for your business—image, slogan, logo, and colour can be trademarked.

Trademarks prevent outsiders from taking advantage of the goodwill of the owner’s business brand that has grown over the years.

Differences between the types of intellectual property

Trade SecretCopyrightPatentTrademark
Protectsconfidential business information.Creative workInventionbrand identifier.
Protection beginsupon creationupon fixationupon registrationupon use
Durationas long as it keeps secret.Lifetime + 70 years20 years.As long you want to use it.
Registrationnonegives extra protectionis requiredGives additional protection
Example– KFC 11 herbs and spices.Books, paintings etc.Coca-cola bottle shape.Apple, Nike etc.

Procedure of registration

Registration of trademark

  • Select the trademark agent
  • Determine the availability and eligibility of the trademark
  • Complete the form and filings
  • Review from the trademark office
  • Preliminary approval and publication
  • Registration

Registration of copyright

  • Filing.
  • Examination.
  • Registration.

Registration of patent

  • Check the patentability of an invention
  • Drafting patent application
  • Filing the patent application
  • Publication
  • Grant of the patent
  • Renew


So, the different types of intellectual property rights protect various inventions from misuse.

Intellectual property is a “creation of the mind”, and it safeguards the inventors from duplicating their inventions.

Every business these days wants the protection of such rights. The creator gets the benefits from their innovation—economic benefit and recognition. So, Intellectual Property rights ultimately create a hunger to be more creative, leading to market growth.


What are the functions of a trademark?

Identify the goods, guarantee their unchanged property, advertise them and create an image of goods.

Is it possible to remove the trademark from the register of trademarks?

Yes, the aggrieved person through application can the trademark removed or cancelled.

How long does the copyright last?

It has lasted for 70 years.

Can more than one person copyright something?

Yes, the works created by two or more people can have joint ownership of copyright.

How do I sell my copyright?

You can sell your copyright through a contractual agreement.

Can more than one person copyright something?

Things come under sections 3 and sec 4 of the IP act.

About Author

My name is Sapna Maheshwari. I'm a freelancer. I have 2 years of experience. I have written an article for websites, the hotel industry, fashion, lifestyle, cosmetology industry, and many more. My interest in writing made me choose this as a career.