Relevance and role of Intellectual Property Rights, Geographical Indications and Traditional wisdom and knowledge in sustainable development of the Himachal Pradesh

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Relevance and role of Intellectual Property Rights, Geographical Indications and Traditional wisdom and knowledge in sustainable development of the Himachal Pradesh:-


Intellectual property (IP) is a collective term used to describe new ideas, inventions, designs, writings, films, etc. that are protected by copyright, patents, trademarks, industrial designs etc. Every country has a range of laws protecting IP. One of the most considerations is that IP may be stolen if the appropriate steps are not taken to protect it. The IP system provides exclusive rights over the use of inventions, designs, brands, literary and artistic works and other tangible assets. Under IP system, one (owner) can export just the IP itself, without an accompanying product i.e. license to a company or companies registered overseas, the right to manufacture or sell product. By this way one can earn additional profit while retaining ownership over the inventions, innovative designs and trademarks.


  1. PATENT:-

A Patent is an exclusive right granted for the protection of an invention. The patent provides its owner with the exclusive right to prevent others from commercially exploiting the invention for a limited period of time in return for disclosing the invention To the public. Thus the owner of the patent (patentee) can prevent others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the patented invention without permission, and sue anyone who exploits the patented invention without his or her permission. Patents may be obtained for any area of technology from paper clips to computers. The patent can be obtained by filing an application to the regional or national Patent Office along with the description of the  invention and its comparison with the existing one. The patent right is given for a limited period of time, generally for 20 years from the filing date.


A trademark is a distinctive sign which distinguishes the goods or services produced or provided by one enterprise from those of another. In general, any distinctive words, letters, numerals, drawings, colors, pictures, shapes, logotype, labels or combinations of the above used to distinguish between the goods and services of different companies may be  considered as a trademark. Different countries use trademark differently. In Some, advertising slogans are considered as trademark while others use less traditional forms i.e. three dimensional signs (e.g. the Coca-Cola Bottle), audible signs (Sounds such as roar of the lion that precedes films produced by MGM) or olfactory signs. But many countries have set limits as to what may be registered as a trademark, generally allowing only signs that are visually perceptible or can be represented graphically. Thus the main functions of a  Trademark are as follows :

  • Ensure that consumers can distinguish between products
  • Enable companies to differentiate between their products
  • A marketing tool and the basis for building a brand image and reputation
  • Provide an incentive to companies to invest in maintaining or improving the quality of their products .

One can protect one’s trademark by registering it. The registration would prevent others from marketing identical or similar products under the same mark. One may license or franchise one’s trade mark to other companies. The protection period of trademark is unlimited  (initially for ten years and renewal after every ten years).


A geographical indication is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that place of origin. The agricultural, natural  and manufactured goods are covered under GIs in India. Champagne, Tequila, Darjeeling,  Roquefort, Pilsen, Porto, Sheffield and Havana are some examples of well- known names that are associated throughout the world with products of a certain nature and quality and specific origin. Registration of geographical indications prevents unauthorized use of GI’s by others, promotes economic prosperity of the producers and enables seeking legal protection in other WTO member countries. Geographical indications are protected in accordance with national law and under a wide range of concepts such as law against unfair competition,  consumer protection law, law for the protection of certification marks or special laws for the protection of geographical indications. Applicable sanctions range from court injunctions preventing the unauthorized use to the payment of damages and fines or, in serious cases, imprisonment. The protection period of geographical indication is unlimited (renewal after every ten years).


Industrial design generally refers to a product’s overall form and function. According to IP law, however, an industrial design refers only to the aesthetic aspects or outward  appearance of a product. Industrial design includes technical and medical instruments, watches, jewellery and other luxury items; from household products, toys, furniture and electrical appliances to cars and architectural structures; from textile designs to sports equipment. Industrial design is also applied to product packaging and containers. Industrial design consists of the three dimensional features such as the shape of a product, the two-dimensional features such as ornamentation, patterns and lines or color, or combination of two or more of these. There are many reasons for business to protect their industrial designs as smart industrial designs are business assets and can increase the commercial value of the company. It play big role in the successful marketing of a wide variety of products, helping to define the image of a company’s brand. A protected design also provide additional source of revenue for its company through licensing out to others, for a fee, the right to use, or by selling the registered design right. The protection period of Industrial design is 10 years (renewal after every 5 years).


Copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted by the law of a jurisdiction to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt work. They are protected irrespective of their quality and they include purely technical guides and engineering drawings. While copyright laws generally do not provide an exhaustive list of the types of work that are protected by copyright, practically all national laws provide for protection of the following:

  • Literary works
  • Musical works
  • Work of art
  • Maps and technical drawings
  • Photographic works
  • Motion pictures
  • Computer programs
  • Multimedia products

The copyright laws protect only the form of expression of ideas and not the ideas  hemselves.

The protection pattern is as follows :

  • Literary works: Life time of the author + 60 years
  • Cinematographic Films, Records, Photographs: 60 years
  • Broadcasting: 25 years

Another field of protection of IP is that of layout- designs (topographies) of integrated circuits. These are usually the result of an enormous investment, both in terms of funds and  the time of highly qualified experts. There is a continuing need for the creation of new layout-designs that reduce the dimensions of existing integrated circuits and increase their functions simultaneously. Integrated circuits are utilized in a large range of products, including article of everyday use, such as watches, television sets, washing machines and automobiles, as well as sophisticated data- processing equipments. Whereas the creation of the new layout-design for an integrated circuit can involve an important investment, the  copying of such a layoutdesign may cost only a fraction of that investment. Copying may be done by photographing each layer of an integrated circuit and preparing masks for its production on the basis of the photographs obtained. The possibility for such copying is the main reason for the introduction of legislation to protect layout- designs. According to the WTO TRIPS Agreement, the term of protection is at least 10 years from the date of filing an application or of the first commercial exploitation in the world, but members may provide a  term of protection of 15 years from the creation of the layout-design.


All businesses have trade secrets. Broadly speaking, any confidential business information  that provides an enterprise with a competitive edge may be considered to be trade secret. Sample categories of what can be considered as Trade Secret are listed below:

  • Manufacturing processes , techniques and know-how
  • Data compilations, e.g. lists of customers
  • Designs, drawings, blueprints, maps
  • Algorithms, processes that are implemented in computer programs and the compuer programs themselves
  • Business strategies, business plans, marketing plans
  • Financial information
  • Manuals

Unlike patents, trade secrets are protected without registration- that is without any procedural formalities. Consequently, a trade secret can be protected for an unlimited period of time or as long as the information remains confidential. There are, however, some  conditions for the information to be considered a trade secret. Compliance with such conditions may turn out to be more difficult and costly than it would appear at first glance. While these conditions vary from country to country, some general standard exists, which are referred to in Article 39 of the agreement on TradeRelated Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization:

  • The information must be secret (i.e. it is not generally known among, or readily accessible to, circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question).
  • It must have commercial value because it is a secret.
  • It must have been subject to reasonable

steps by the rightful holder of the information to keep it secret (e.g. through confidentiality clauses in employee contracts, nondisclosure agreement, etc.


The State Council for Science, Technology & Environment with support of Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), Department of Science & Technology, (DST), Govt. of India has established HPPIC in 1998 to cater various Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) needs of the State.


  • To advise HP Govt. on IPR related Matters & Policy Issues
  • To create Awareness about IPRs in H.P.
  • To encourage scientists of Universities, R& D Institutions to file Patents
  • To provide technical assistance to Innovators & Institutions in preparing documents related to Patents/ designs and other IPRs
  • To provide Patent Search Facility to Inventors
  • To identify and register GIs of H.P.


  • Information on IPRs: Application Forms
  • Computerized Patent Search Facility
  • Databases on Indian Patents
  • Details of Patent Attorneys
  • Linkage with PFC (Patent Facilitating Cell),
  • TIFAC for detailed search of Patents & funding in Govt / Semi Govt Sector
  • IPR Library with books, journals, reports, videos & CDs on IPRs


  • Organized 30 IPR Awareness workshops in different parts of the State.
  • Established Four IPR Cells in State Universities and Technical Institutions.
  • Processed/Forwarded 30 Patent Applications to TIFAC
  • Identified 20 possible traditional products of H.P. for registration under GI Act 1999.
  • Became the 1st State to Formulate “Policy for the Registration and Protection of Geographical Indications of Goods in Himachal Pradesh”
  • Got Registered Kullu Shawl, Kangra Tea, Chamba Rumal & Kinnauri Shawl under GI Act 1999.
  • GIs in Pipeline: Application to be filed for registration of Kangra Paintings.
  • Filed Application for Registration of Kangra Tea with European Union.
  • Staff of PIC Attended 30 workshops/ trainings on IPRs organized by TIFAC, WIPO and other Organizations.


  1. Kullu Shawls
  2. Kangra Tea
  3. Chamba Rumal
  4. Kinnauri Shawls


  1. Chamba Chappals
  2. Kinnauri Caps
  3. Chamba Jaris
  4. Chamba Chukh
  5. Kullu Caps
  6. Pule (embroidered grass shoes)
  7. Red rice
  8. Kala Jeera
  9. Himachal Apples
  10. Traditional wines (Angoori)
  11. Chulli oil
  12. Pahari Aloo -Himachal Potato
  13. Traditional Lahauli Crafts (Gloves and Socks)
  14. Chilgoza
  15. Seabuckthorn
  16. Kangra Paintings

Relevance and role of Intellectual Property Rights in sustainable development:-

After India becoming food self-sufficient, it was a high time to become globally competitive market player in food and agriculture sector. In this context, Intellectual Property Rights  (IPR), biodiversity conservation for sustainable use, and benefit sharing with conserver  farmers have emerged as important legal areas in past 2-3 decades to deal with in agriculture sector. Universities and Line Departments have greater role to play in organizing research,  education and extension, to bring mass awareness for these new developments and  opportunities, to train farmers and extension workers on best practices, and enhancing skills of staff and students in undertaking collaborative research, IP protection and technology commercialization. CSK-HPKV, like ICAR and many other SAUs, has already established an IPR Unit which gives focused attention to these areas so that the university becomes a globally competitive hub for the promotion of IPR protected technologies of hill agriculture. An IPR (such as Patent, Plant Variety Protection, Geographical Indication, etc.) is not a natural right. One has to apply to a concerned National Authority in prescribed manner to get such right. Public can oppose the application for any such right when it is published by the concerned Authority. Both parties will be heard if the applicant files counter claim. But once an IP right is granted, the owner has freedom to commercialize the product in any way he likes, for example, by manufacturing himself or by giving licence to others. This right is limited for a particular time span (20 years for a patent; 15-18 years for a plant variety, etc.) and it can be effective only in India. If the owner wants to have such right in some other country also, then he has to apply separately in that country. National IPR Policy has been established recently, in May 2016. IPR Guidelines by ICAR are also in place. This helps the university scientists, teachers and students for their IP management and technology commercialization tasks through IPR Cell. Patent Information Centre of HP State Science Technology and Environment Council, and Public Agencies of Central Government such as TIFAC and NRDC are also helping the university staff and students in capacity building and IP & technology management efforts.

The Relevance of Traditional Knowledge to Sustainable Development:-

The realization that TK has not become redundant in today’s world, is increasingly widespread. The Rio Declaration, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the documents coming out of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and a whole host of other international instruments and forums have emphasized the current (and future) relevance of TK. Institutions such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the International Labour Organization (especially Convention 169), the Food and Agricultural Organization, the World Health Organization, UNESCO, UNEP, UNDP, the UN Commission on Human Rights, and a number of other international organizations have similarly given it importance. The World Conference on Science, organized by UNESCO and the International Council for Science (ICSU), in its Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge, explicitly  recognized the importance of TK and the need to respect and encourage its use for various forms of human endeavour (ICSU 2002). The UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples,  endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2006 with a recommendation for the UN General Assembly to adopt it recognizes “that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment.” It is particularly instructive that the United Nations  Committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which essentially deals with international economic relations, has also given TK considerable importance. Since 2000 when its member States decided to address the issue of the use and protection of TK, it has promoted work on the subject, including bringing together 250 experts from 80 countries in October-November 2000, to deliberate on the subject. The book coming out of that has a series of articles dealing with diverse aspects of the role of TK in human welfare and sustainable development (Twarog and Kapoor 2004). Most commonly accepted is the role of TK in the “traditional” or primary sectors of the economy: agriculture and pastoralism, forestry, fisheries, water, and products made from natural resources such as crafts, furniture, housing, and so on (Posey 1999). Given the fact that a majority of the world’s population remain dependent on these sectors for their survival and livelihoods, and for various aspects of shelter, the contribution that TK makes and can continue to make towards sustaining billions of people is quite clear (though not necessarily acted upon in policies and programmes of most countries). However, the role of TK in the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy too is becoming clearer. A whole range of industrial products are dependent on or use TK in varying ways. This is true for sectors like textiles, pharmaceuticals, household good, and so on. Health care, through all systems of medicine, is to varying degrees of extent dependent on TK, or on combinations of TK and modern knowledge. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the majority of the world’s population (in areas like Africa, up to 80 per cent of the population) is dependent for varying degrees on medicinal plants through traditional health care systems Numerous studies have demonstrated the contribution that TK also makes to the modern pharmaceutical industry and modern health care, a contribution that may only increase as people in the western world (including westernized people in the “developing” countries) become more conscious of plant-based cures. The WHO estimates that 25 per cent of modern medicines are made from plants first used traditionally. Services like food distribution, education, climate forecasting and warning, and community care also continue to be performed through institutions using traditional means, and in some cases even modern institutions of the government or corporate sector are discovering the value of this. In a Food for Work programme in Nepal, significant losses of food in the distribution system were reduced when the programme switched to the use of local technologies and networks (Gorjestani 2004). Rates of maternal mortality at childbirth were reduced significantly when traditional institutions (including the traditional birth attendant) were used in combination with modern communications (Musake 1999, cited in Gorjestani 2004). The trade sector too has seen a significant and continuing contribution of TK related products and services, as recognized by institutions such as UNCTAD (Twarog and Kapoor 2004). Though much more recent, there is now a growing recognition of the role that TK could play in humanity’s response to the gravest threat it now faces: climate change. The fact that communities have for centuries and millennia adjusted their behaviour and strategies and knowledge systems to changes in their surrounds, is central to this realization. Communities adjust their [/lockercat] agriculture/pastoralism/fishing and hunting-gathering to subtle or not-so-subtle changes in climate, to threats from other communities or invasions, to disease and  epidemics, and so on. Traditional systems appear to be static, but they are indeed dynamic in making such adjustments. Such adaptability could be a key factor in the response that we give as a species, to the impacts of climate change….and TK’s role in all the sectors named above could provide the alternatives needed to build towards a more sustainable way of dealing with our atmosphere. As an example of the potential of this (as yet considerably under-utilized), researchers, government agencies, and indigenous peoples of Canada are collaborating in research and action related to climate change that brings together TK and modern knowledge.

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