How do Copyright Laws differ from laws of Intellectual Property Rights

August 11, 2021

Image source - https://bit.ly/3s9Qddt

The article is written by Nikhil Thakur from Manav Rachna University. In this article, the author has briefly explained the major differences between Copyright Laws and Intellectual Property Rights Laws.


Intellectual property rights (IPR) around the globe have played a paramount role in protecting and safeguarding technological, scientific, and medical innovation. In India, numerous Intellectual Property Rights legislation has been enacted to comply and cope up with the obligations arising due to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Around the globe, IPR has become the world’s fastest-growing law field and hence the demand for Intellectual Property Rights expertise has augmented. The Intellectual Property Rights dominion is vast and copyright is a part of it. Intellectual property has been demarcated into two basic categories, that are industrial property and copyright.


Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), intellectual property means and refers to the formation of the mind, namely invention: literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce.

Intellectual Property Rights are categorized into two main heads, that are:

Industrial design

Industrial design encompasses inventions, trademarks, patents, and geographical indications within its ambit. 


Copyright encompasses literary and artistic works like novels, poems, plays, films, etc. within its purview.


Following the words of WIPO, copyright is an exclusive right granted to the owner of literary and artistic works. Films, plays, novels, painting, music, computer programs, maps, advertisement are covered under the ambit of literary and artistic work. In India, Section 14 of the Copyright Act, 1957 defines what is copyright.


According to WIPO, trademarks mean a sign, symbols, logos, and sounds that helps one enterprise to distinguish its marks from that of the other enterprise. In India, Section 2(1)(ZB) of the Trademark Act, 1999 defines what is a trademark.


According to WIPO, the patent is also an exclusive right that is granted in favour of the inventor of a new product or service. Section 2(1)(m) of the Patent Act, 1970 defines patents.

Industrial design

WIPO defines industrial design from the point of view of the ornamental aspect of an article that may be three-dimensional, two-dimensional, linear, etc. Section 2(d) of the Design Act, 2000 defines design.

Geographical indication

According to WIPO, geographical indication relates to the origin of the product or having a particular geographical origin. Section 2(1)(e) of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 defines geographical indication.

Differentiating between Copyright and other Intellectual Property Rights

Copyright and Patent

Copyright and Trademark

Copyright and Industrial Design

  1. If the outer appearance of the design is particularly because of the technical feature of the product.
  2. If the outer appearance symbolizes civil or industrial construction work.
  3. While utilizing the design, it becomes or is invisible (difficult to ascertain the shape of the design).
  1. The legal, official, and other legislative documents.
  2. News telecasted by the news channels and reporters.
  3. Operational system and processes.
  1. The design so created shall be novel, fresh, or new.
  2. The design shall mandatorily include an inventive step.
  3. And most importantly, the design is applicable at the industrial level.

Copyright and Geographical Indication


Though the copyright is a part of Intellectual Property (IP), it still differs from other intellectual properties namely patent, trademark, geographical indication, and design. Under intellectual property rights, two main categories are industrial design (where all the IPs are included except the copyright) and the other is copyright itself. Hence, copyright is a category of intellectual property rights, while the other IPs namely patent, trademark, design, and so on are subcategories of IPR.

Another important aspect that needs to be taken care of is that there is a single ministry (DPIIT, ministry of Commerce and Industry) that governs the industrial design and its sub-categories, while in copyright there is a specific ministry that is the Copyright office, MHRD.


LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals, and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join:


Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more amazing legal content.

Exit mobile version