Intellectual Property Law

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In India, the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of computer software is covered under the Copyright Law.
Accordingly, the copyright of computer software is protected under the provisions of Indian Copyright Act 1957. Major changes to Indian Copyright Law were introduced in 1994 and came into effect from 10 May 1995. These changes or amendments made the Indian Copyright law, one of the toughest in the world.
The amendments to the Copyright Act introduced in June 1994 were in themselves, a landmark in the India’s copyright arena. For the first time in India, the Copyright Law clearly explained:


  • The rights of a copyright holder
  • position on rentals of software
  • The rights of the user to make backup copies
  • And most importantly the amendments imposed heavy punishment and fines for infringement of copyright of software.

Because most software is easy to duplicate and the copy is usually as good as original, the Copyright Act was greatly in demand. According to this Act, the infringer can be tried under both civil and criminal law.

According to section 16 of this Act, it is illegal to make or distribute copies of copyrighted software without proper or specific authorisation. The only exception is provided by section 52 of the Act, which allows a backup copy purely as a temporary protection against loss, distribution or damage to the original copy. The 1994 amendment to the Copyright Act also prohibits the sale or hiring, or any offer for sale or hire of any copy of the computer program without specific authorisation of the Copyright holder.

A civil and criminal action may be instituted for injunction, actual damages (including infringer’s profits) or statutory damages per infringement etc. With these amendments, even the criminal penalties have substantially increased. Section 63 B, stipulates a minimum jail term of 7 days which can be extended up to 3 years. The Act further states the fine ranging from Rs. 50,000 to 2,00,000.

Government agencies have been very actively participating in protecting of the rights of the copyright holder. Both Ministry of Information Technology and Ministry of Human Resource Development have been active in incorporating amendments to the Indian Copyright Act. These agencies are now helping the law enforcing agencies e.g. the Police in enforcing the law. Today, NASSCOM officers and those of these government agencies are committed to enforce copyright laws and eradicate the menace of software piracy.

The Anti-Piracy raids facilitated by NASSCOM and Business Software Alliance (BSA) over the last few years in metros as well as smaller cities have already had salutary effect. The law enforcing authorities too supported these raids actively.

Legal Expers and Intellectual Property Law

Attorneys of Legal Experts India have been at the forefront of intellectual property law and practice in India since its establishment as a patent attorney firm in India.

Legal Experts India includes a large number of highly experienced Patent Attorneys and Trade Marks Attorneys specialising in obtaining and maintaining patents, trade marks and designs throughout the world. Our Patent Attorneys are qualified in a wide range of technologies to meet the technical diversity of our clients.