In a globalised world, intellectual property rights assume significance and are a source of litigation. Broadly distinguish between the terms – copyrights, patents and trade secrets.
In today’s information age, it is essential for a person to protect their intellectual property. Copyrights, patents, trademarks etc and means of according protection to one’s work. Copyright and Patents both have to do with the manifestation or expression of a unique and novel idea. While patents deal with the functional manifestation of an idea, copyright cover creative or artistic expression of an idea. For example, creating of a new model of pen using new technology would be patentable, while a drawing or a sculpture of a pen would be copyrighted. Patents also cover improvements made to existing technology, in addition to new inventions, new methods of production etc. A copyright covers literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works such as books, photographs, songs etc and also covers software etc. Patents in India are governed by the Patents Act of 1970, while copyrights are governed by the Copyright Act of 1957.
A trade secret refers to any confidential information with reference to a business entity, the acquisition of which could provide a competitive edge to a rival business organisation. Trade secret could be commercial information or information pertaining to industrial manufacturing process. For instance, Pepsi Co’s formula for producing Pepsi is considered a trade secret. In India, no specific law governs trade secrets, but it is accorded protection by the Courts through interpretation of natural law, principles of equity and common law, and the Contract Act.