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Cabinet Endorses Alignment with Global Trademark System | Company Vakil

13th March 2019 marks the day when the Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, endorsed the proposal for India’s accession to the Nice, Vienna and Locarno Agreements. The move is set to harmonize the classification systems for examination of trademark and design applications in accordance with the global standards. This article seeks to create awareness of this recent update by exploring its implications.

A Preface to the Agreements

Here’s a brief on the agreements endorsed for accession by the Cabinet:

Nice Agreement

The Nice Agreement establishes the international classification of goods and services for the registration of trademarks and service marks. It was formed in the year 1957 and is classified on the basis of a multilateral treaty governed by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization).

The Vienna Agreement

The Vienna Agreement establishes a classification for marks that include figurative elements. The agreement was formed in the year 1973 and later amended in 1985.

The Locarno Agreement

The Locarno Agreement establishes a classification for industrial designs. It was formulated in 1968 and later amended in 1979.

Anticipated Benefits

The move, as stated earlier, has been aimed at harmonizing the classification systems for examination of trademark and design applications in accordance with the standards of the global classification systems. Apart from this:

  • It would facilitate the inclusion of Indian designs, figurative elements and goods in the international classification systems.
  • It might play a role in reassuring foreign investors concerning the protection of IPs (Intellectual Properties) in India.
  • It would facilitate the execution of rights in the decision-making process concerning the review and revision of the classification under the agreement.

Intellectual Property Rights – an Overview

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) refer to the rights provided to people over the creations of their minds. WIPO has classified the provision into two main areas – copyrights and rights related to copyright, and industrial property. The former deals with the rights of authors of literary and artistic works, which may include books and other writings, musical compositions, paintings, sculpture, computer programs and films. Copyright protection could be valid for a minimum period of fifty years after the death of the author. Rights related to copyrights, also known as neighbouring rights, refer to the rights of performers – the likes of whom include actors, singers and musicians, producers of phonograms and broadcasting corporations, etc. Copyright is mainly aimed at encouraging and rewarding creative work by ensuring its protection.

Industrial property is classified into two main areas; one of which can be characterized as the protection of distinctive signs, specifically trademarks and geographical indications. For the awareness of the readers, a trademark distinguishes the goods or services from those of other undertakings, and a geographical indication identifies a good in accordance with its origins. These distinctive signs seek to stimulate, ensure healthy competition, and protect consumers by helping them to make informed choices among various goods and services. Other types of industrial properties are protected with the object of stimulating innovation, design and the creation of technology; and covers patent-protected inventions, industrial designs and trade secrets.

It is noteworthy that the exclusive rights provided under these provisions are subject to various limitations and exemptions, aimed at fine-tuning the balance to be found between the legitimate interests of the right holders and users.

Apart from this, TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) has enlisted the following as Intellectual Property Rights, which incidentally includes the ones already covered above:

  1. Copyright and related rights.
  2. Rights of traders in their trademarks.
  3. Rights of manufacturers and producers on geographical indication concerning such products and produce.
  4. Rights of designers for distinctive designs.
  5. Patents
  6. Rights of computer technologist for the layout design of integrated circuits.
  7. Rights of businesspeople for the protection of undisclosed information on technology and management.

Key facts- the three agreements:

  • Create a Union, which has an Assembly. Every State that is a member of the Union is a member of the Assembly.
  • Among the most important tasks of the Assembly is the adoption of the biennial program and budget of the Union.
  • Set up a Committee of Experts in which all members of the Union are represented. The main task of the Committee is the periodical revision of the Classification.

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