“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.”
In 1485 the first system of protection of intellectual property came in the form on Venetian Ordinance historically. In England in 1623 it was followed by Statue of Monopolies, which extended rights of patents for Technology Inventions. In 1760, patent laws were introduced in The United States. Between 1880 and 1889 patent laws of most European countries were developed. In the year 1856 in India Patent Act was introduced which remained in force for more than 50 years which was later modified and revised and was called “The Indian Patents and Designs Act, 1911”. A complete bill on patent rights was enacted after Independence in the year 1970 and was called “The Patents Act, 1970”.
Specific statues protected only specific type of intellectual output; till very recently only four forms were protected. The protection was in the form of grant of designs, patents, trademarks and copyrights. In India, copyrights were regulated under the Copyright Act, 1957; trademarks under Trade and Merchandise Marks Act 1958; patents under Patents Act, 1970; and designs under Designs Act, 1911.
The establishment of WTO and India also being signatory to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), many new legislations were passed for the protection of intellectual property rights to meet the obligations internationally. These included the following: Designs Act, 1911 was changed by the Designs Act, 2000; Trade Marks, called the Trade Mark Act, 1999; the Copyright Act, 1957 was revised number of times, the latest is known as Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012; and the recent amendments made to the Patents Act, 1970 in 2005. Other than this, plant varieties and geographical indications were also enacted in new legislations. These are called Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, and Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 respectively.
Intellectual property rights have developed to a stature from where it plays an important role in developing economy globally, over the last fifteen years. In 1990s, laws and regulations were strengthened I this area by many countries unilaterally. In the multilateral level, there was enhanced protection and enforcement of IPRs to the level of solemn international commitment because of successful conclusion of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in World Trade Organization. It is felt strongly that under the competitive environment globally, stronger IPR protection rises the incentives for innovations and raises returns to international transfer of technology.