Demystifying Intellectual Property: A Guide

“Demystifying Intellectual Property: A Guide”

Demystifying Intellectual Property: A Guide
Demystifying Intellectual Property: A Guide


The concept of property was derived from John Locke’s labour theory, which held that ‘all the products of my work should be my property.’ In other words, all the products of my intellectual work should be considered property and I would have the sole right to use them to my advantage. This idea forms the foundation of intellectual property, but it differs significantly from real property rights.


  1. Patent: Guarding your invention
  • Define: A patent is a property right granted to an inventor by a sovereign authority. A patent grants the patent holder exclusive rights to a patented process, design or invention for a specified period of time in exchange for full disclosure of that invention. Patents are a type of intangible right.
  • Legal Term: “Patent protection grants inventors the exclusive right to make, use, and sell their inventions for a limited period, typically 20 years.”
  1. Trademark: Building your brand
  • Define: A trademark is a mark that can be represented graphically to distinguish one person’s goods or services from that of others. Trademarks can include a term, a sign, a symbol, a device, a brand, a heading, a label, a ticket, a name, a signature, a word, a letter, a numeral, the shape of the goods, the packaging or a combination of colours or any combination of colours, or a graphic that identifies a company, its products or services, from that of its competitors
  • Legal Term: “A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies and distinguishes the goods or services of a business from those of others.”
  1. Copyright: Preserving your creative work
  • Define: The legal right of the owner of intellectual property is referred to as copyright. The ability to copy is, to put it simply, copyright. This implies that the only people with the exclusive right to replicate a work are its original creators and anybody they authorize. For a limited period of time, copyright law grants the producers of creative material the only authority to use and duplicate their creations. The copyrighted material enters public domain when the copyright expires.
  • Legal term: “Copyright protects original works of authorship, such as literary, artistic, and musical creations, giving the creator the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute their work.”


For long-term success in the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, intellectual property protection is essential. This essay breaks down the complex issues surrounding intellectual property (IP) rights for small businesses in a way that is easy to understand. The journey commences with an examination of the fundamental nature of patents, illustrating how they grant inventors exclusive rights for a limited time. After that, we explore trademarks and explain how they help with branding and differentiating products on the market. We also discuss copyrights, which are the protectors of artistic creations.

To make the topic accessible to a wide range of readers, legalese is used sparingly throughout. Through a clear and concise explanation of IP, this guide equips small business owners to confidently traverse the protection road. Entrepreneurs will acquire vital insights to strengthen their businesses in a competitive setting, from comprehending patents, trademarks, and copyrights to realizing their critical role in driving innovation. Accept this demystification of intellectual property and go one step closer to protecting the creations of your creativity.

Landmark Cases:

Bajaj Electricals Limited vs. Gourav Bajaj & Anr.

Facts: The plaintiff owned electrical stores under the same brand name and was a member of the well-known Bajaj industry conglomerate. The defendant maintained a website for his two electrical stores, both of which bore the term “Bajaj” in their names. In addition, the defendant mentioned in the course of his business that he was “Powered by: BAJAJ.” By demonstrating that “Bajaj” had been legitimately accorded the status of a well-known trademark and that the Defendant was therefore not authorized to use it, the Plaintiff established their ownership of the term. It was further argued that the Defendant’s use of the aforementioned term was an obvious attempt to mislead the public by giving the impression that the Plaintiff supported or approved of the Defendant’s retail locations. As a result, the Plaintiff sued the Defendant to obtain an injunction against the infringement.

Held: The Bombay High Court deliberated over whether the use of one’s own name as a defence applied to the current case. They decided that this kind of defense was ineffective since the plaintiff had provided sufficient evidence of the defendant’s dishonest motivations for using the name “Bajaj” in trade. The Court issued an interim injunction prohibiting the use of the trademark in the Defendant’s domain name and store names.

Sameer Wadekar & Anr. vs. Netflix Entertainment Services Pvt. Ltd & Ors.

Facts: The current lawsuit was started on the grounds that the Plaintiff’s literary work had been copied by the Defendant and used without his permission as the basis for a web series, violating his copyright. Plaintiff’s primary argument was that there were multiple parallels between his work and the web series, and that he had previously shared his work with a known associate of the Defendant. Therefore, he filed a claim for copyright infringement and requested an injunction to prevent the web series’ release.

Held: After carefully examining both pieces, the Bombay High Court found that there was insufficient similarity between them to classify the web series as a copy of the Plaintiff’s literary work. Since the similarities were only conceptual in nature, there was no way to accuse someone of copying them. It further held that a prima facie case of copyright infringement could not be established by the simple fact that the Plaintiff shared his work with a Defendant associate. As a result, the injunction request was denied, and the web series’ release was approved.

Cadila Healthcare Ltd. v. Cadila Pharmaceuticals, 2001

Facts: Falciparum, a medication used to treat cerebral malaria, was first introduced by two pharmaceutical companies in this case: Cadila Healthcare Ltd., the appellant, and Cadila Pharmaceuticals, the respondent. The respondent called their medication “Falcigo,” while the appellant introduced their medication under the name and style “Falcitab.” The respondent registered their trademark in 1997, while the appellant registered theirs in 1996 with approval from the Drugs Controller of India. When the appellant learned later in 1998 that the respondent was producing, marketing, and selling a medication that bore similarities to its name and intended use, the appellant filed a request for an injunction with the Vadodara District Court to prevent the respondent from engaging in any more trading. Nonetheless, the Vadodra District Court ruled in the respondent’s favor, finding that the two medications differed in price, formulation, and appearance. The Court further declared that there would be no chance of confusion among the public because both medications are direct sales to hospitals and fall under the “Schedule L” category of drugs. Feeling offended by this ruling, the petitioner filed an appeal with the High Court. The appellants were not successful this time either, as the High Court denied their appeal on the grounds that there was only a remote chance of passing off because there was no potential for confusion between the two medications. The appellant finally made contact with the Supreme Court.


By issuing this ruling, the Honorable Supreme Court made it clear that it has no intention of interfering with lower courts’ rulings. Rather, the ruling serves to define the guidelines that should be adhered to when handling cases involving passing off, particularly those involving medical products.

 The Apex Court went into further detail regarding a number of rulings from both domestic and international courts before declaring that, due to the lack of a common language in India, none of the intricate and exact rulings from those cases could be applied to the current one. There are a lot of illiterate or non-English speaking consumers in the Indian market; therefore, it is important to take them into account before making any decisions because a misunderstanding about the product’s identity could have a serious negative impact on public health.   

The Honourable Court further noted that despite the fact that the disputed medications are prescribed by doctors and are part of “Schedule L,” which prohibits their direct sale to hospitals or clinics, there remains a potential for confusion between the two medications.   

Ultimately, the Honorable Supreme Court established a few guidelines to take into account when addressing a passing-off case and determining whether or not there is a deceptive similarity. The following are the guiding ideas:

  • to examine the character of the marks, which consist of composite, label, and word marks.
  • in order to assess the degree of ideological and phonetic similarity amongst such marks.
  • to compare the products of the two participating traders in terms of nature, performance, and character.
  • to determine the consumer class that might purchase the goods based on the qualifications they need, their level of education, their intelligence, and the level of caution they might use when purchasing or using the goods.
  • to verify the type of products they are being used as trademarks for.
  • to determine the method of payment when purchasing such products.
  • Any additional relevant circumstances that may be relevant in determining how these competitive marks differ from one another.


It is impossible to overestimate the significance of intellectual property (IP) rights in the dynamic business world for small businesses. One major theme comes to light as we wrap up our exploration of patents, trademarks, and copyrights: empowerment.

By giving creators and innovators the means to safeguard their concepts and works of art, intellectual property acts as the protector of innovation. Small business owners, who are frequently the creators of novel ideas, now have a better knowledge of the basic ideas that support intellectual property rights.

Remember this as you start your entrepreneurial journey: intellectual property does not have to be a mysterious and confusing realm. Rather, see it as a vital ally, a means by which your distinctive offerings can prosper and last. Our goal is to provide you with the necessary knowledge to navigate the complexities of intellectual property by demystifying these legal concepts.

Allow intellectual property to be your constant partner in the chase of success, making sure that your inventions, trademarks, and artistic creations endure. May this knowledge of intellectual property rights serve as a light for you as you move forward, pointing the way to a time when your creativity will not only be valued but safeguarded for future generations. Accept the power of intellectual property and use it as the basis for your business success.

Raj Mohan Tiwari

India International University 

of Legal Education and Research, Goa

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