Intellectual Property Right in Fruit Crops
Authors: Praveen Kumar Mishra1* and Sanjay Sahay2*
1 Ph. D. Scholar*
2 Associate Professor cum Senior Scientist
Department of Horticulture (Fruit & Fruit Technology), B.A.U., Sabour, Bhagalpur, Bihar, India, 813210


Intellectual property Right (IPR) is a combined name which used to express new ideas, inventions, designs, writings, films etc. that are protected by patents, copyright, trademarks, industrial designs etc. In fact, IPR are provides legal restrictions for use of new developments without the permission of the holder of the rights of the inventions.

It also provides an avenue for royalties to the inventors for the use of the invention/technology. There are two broad categories of IPR: first, industrial property covering IPRs such as patents, trademarks, geographical indications and industrial design; second, copyright and related rights covering artistic and literary works, performances, broadcasts and others (Sui generis) which include those covering lay-out designs of semi conductor chips, plant breeders' rights etc.

Intellectual property rights became a concern in Indian agriculture when India joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 1 January 1995 and signed on to WTO's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. The ICAR has taken several steps towards developing and strengthening the decentralized three-tier intellectual property management system since the implementation of ICAR Guidelines for Intellectual Property Management and Technology Transfer/Commercialization' with effect from 2 October 2006. Vegetatively propagated plants were first made patentable in the US only in 1930.

Some important forms of IPR

Ø Copyrights

Ø Patents

Ø Protection of Plant varieties and Farmers Rights

Ø Trademarks

Ø Geographical Indications

Ø Industrial Designs

Ø Trade secrets

Some Important Acts related to IPR

S. N.

Type of Acts Year of passing/amendments


Copyright The Copyright Act, 1957 (amended,2000)


Patents The Patents Act, 1970 (amended,2005)


Trade marks The Trade Marks Act, 1999


Designs The Designs Act, 2000


Geographical indication of goods GI Act, 1999


Protection of plant varieties & farmer's rights act PPV & FR Act, 2001


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. The copyright laws protect only the form of expression of ideas and not the ideas themselves. The total term of protection for literary work is the author's life plus sixty years.


Patents are legal monopoly rights granted, by the government, to the applicant, for new inventions (process or product) employing scientific and technical knowledge. The purpose of this system is to encourage inventions by promoting their protection and utilization. The first Indian patent laws were promulgated in 1856. Subsequently, these were modified from time to time as per needs.

However, new patent laws were made after the independence in the form of the Indian Patent Act 1970. The Act has now been radically amended to become fully compliant with the provisions of TRIPS. The most recent amendment was made in 2005 which were preceded by the amendments in 2000 and 2003. India became a member of the Paris Convention, Patent Cooperation Treaty and Budapest Treaty. The need of patent arises in India as fast technological developments in different sectors have been started.

Patent right is territorial in nature and a patent obtained in one country is not enforceable in other country. 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. The patent can be obtained by filing an application to the regional or national Patent Office along with the description of the invention. The term of every patent is 20 years from the date of filing of patent application. In respect of patent applications filed, following aspects will have to be kept in mind:

· Claim or claims can now relate to single invention or group of inventions linked so as to form a single inventive concept.

· Applicant has to request for examination 12 months within publication or 48 months from date of application, whichever is later.


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, logotypes, labels or combinations of the above used to distinguish between the goods and services of different companies may be considered as a trademark. The protection period of trademark is unlimited (initially for ten years and renewal after every ten years). There are five trademark registry offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmadabad.

Thus the main advantages of trademarks are as follows:

· A trademark enables a customer to distinguish the product of one manufacturer from the other.

· The trademark becomes an effective instrument for attract customers.

· Trademark acquires goodwill of customers by its proper use.

· A marketing tool and the basis for building a broad image and reputation.

· Provide an incentive to companies to invest in maintaining or improving the quality of their products.

· To provide better protection of trade mark for goods and services and also to prevent fraudulent use of the mark.

· Trade mark valid for 10 years thereafter renewal is required.

  • E.g. Label 'PUSA' by IARI, New Delhi


According to IP law, however, an industrial design refers only to the aesthetic aspects or outward appearance of a product. 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 plays 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).


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. Geographical indications, as a distinct form of IP are not related to Ownership/user ship interest to ICAR but can be of broader relevance. Likewise trade mark, GI is a form of IPR used in product marketing, represented in words, figures, graphics, diagrammatic presentations or any specific combination of these indications, but it essentially governs a collective rather than individual right that represents a specific link between goods (whether agricultural, natural or manufactured goods) and place of their production. 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. The protection period of geographical indication is unlimited (renewal after every ten years).

Protection of plant varieties & farmers rights act:-

The establishment of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Authority at New Delhi, new plant varieties can be protected under PPV&FR Act, 2001 because plant varieties cannot be protected by patents. This act provides protection to extant varieties and also profit sharing among farmers with the terms for punishment to unauthorized marketing of propagation materials. The entire extant varieties of ICAR, which have not finished 15 years from the date of notification under the Seed Act, 1966 have to be protected under the PPV & FR Act as a priority activity in a time-bound manner. There are five key criteria to reach destination at a decision, whether a plant variety is really new or not. These are distinctiveness, uniformity, stability, novelty and denomination.

In 2001, in line with the TRIPS guidelines, the government passed the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act (PPV & FR Act) with the objectives -

(1) To provide an effective system for protection of plant varieties (new/extents)

(2) To protect the rights of farmers and plant breeders

(3) To encourage the development of new varieties of plants

(4) To stimulate R &D investment and seed industry growth

(5)To ensure the availability of high-quality seeds and planting materialist farmers and other agencies.

(6) To ensure benefit sharing to farmers.

(7) To strengthen seed industry by facilitating research and development.


1. Kolady, D., Spielman, D. J. and Cavalieri, A. J. (2010). Intellectual Property Rights, Private Investment in Research, and Productivity.
2. Nanda, N., Vikram, E., Sharma, A. and Sharma, S. D. (2010). IPR NEWSLETTER (Volume I). State Council for Science, Technology & Environment, H.P.
3. ICAR Guidelines for Intellectual Property Management and Technology Transfer/ Commercialization (2006). 1- 122.
4. Navale, M.U., Gupta, G. K., Sharma, M. P. and Shrivastava, S. K. (2010). Intellectual Property Rights in Agriculture, Technical Bulletin No.12. DSR, Indore, India, 47p.
5. Kumar, N. K. K., Ganeshan, S., Mysore, S., Gaddagimath, P.B., Vinay, S. and Kavitha, M. (2010). A Step Forward. Institute Technology Management Unit, IIHR, Bengaluru.

About Author / Additional Info:
Ph. D. Scholar in Fruit Science at BAU Sabour, Bhagalpur, Bihar