Status Of Intellectual Property Rights In The Educational Industry
Overview of intellectual property rights:
Intellectual property rights (IPR) are legal rights that protect creations of
the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names,
and images used in commerce.IPR in education can include patents for innovative
teaching technologies, copyrights for educational materials such as textbooks,
and trademarks for educational institutions and their logos.While IPR can
incentivize innovation and creativity in the educational industry, it can also
limit access to knowledge and educational resources.
Copyrights in EducationCopyrights protect original works of authorship, such as literary, musical, and
artistic works, and can cover educational materials such as textbooks,
coursepacks, and online resources. The Copyright Act,1957,governs the copyright
law in India.
Fair use is a doctrine in copyright law that allows for limited use of
copyrighted materials without permission, such as for criticism, commentary,
news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.
In the landmark case of Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. (1994)1, the
Supreme Court held that a parody of a copyrighted work can be fair use if it is
transformative and does not substitute for the original work.
In the case of Chancellor, Masters & Scholars of the University of Oxford &
Ors v. Rameshwari Photocopy Services & Ors (2016),2 the Court held that the
reproduction and distribution of copyrighted materials by a
university-affiliated photocopying service for educational purposes was a fair
use of the materials, as it did not compete with the market for the original
Patents in EducationPatents protect inventions and can include innovative teaching technologies such
as online learning platforms, educational games, and virtual reality tools.In
India, The Patents Act, 1970, governs patent law.
In the educational industry, patent infringement lawsuits can arise when
companies or institutions use patented technologies without permission or
In the case of Blackboard, Inc. v. Desire2Learn, Inc. (2009)3, a patent
infringement lawsuit was filed by Blackboard against Desire2Learn for using
Blackboard's patented learning management system. The case was settled out of
court, with Desire2Learn agreeing to pay a $3.1 million settlement to
In the case of Bayer Corporation v. Union of India & Ors (2014)4, the
Delhi High Court held that the grant of a compulsory license to a generic drug
manufacturer to produce and sell a patented cancer drug was in the public
interest, as it would increase access to affordable healthcare
Trademarks in EducationTrademarks protect names, logos, and symbols used in commerce, and can include
educational institution names and logos.The Trade Marks Act,1999, governs the
trademark law in India and allows for the registration of trademarks for
educational institutions and their logos.
In the educational industry, trademark infringement lawsuits can arise when one
institution uses a similar name or logo to another institution, causing
confusion among consumers.
In the case of University of Alabama Board of Trustees v. New Life Art, Inc.
(2012)5, the Supreme Court held that a painting of a football game scene
featuring the University of Alabama's uniforms and helmets did not violate the
university's trademark rights, as it was a work of artistic expression and not
In conclusion, intellectual property rights play an important role in the
educational industry, protecting innovative teaching technologies, educational
materials, and institution names and logos. While IPR can incentivize innovation
and creativity, it can also limit access to knowledge and educational resources.
In India, the Copyright Act, Patents Act, and Trade Marks Act govern IPR in
education, allowing for fair use of copyrighted materials, compulsory licensing
in cases of public interest, and registration of trademarks for educational
institutions. The case law examples demonstrate how courts in India have
interpreted and applied IPR laws in the context of education, balancing the
interests of creators and the public.
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