Justifications for the Protection of IP Rights | Overview Natural Rights Theory Utilitarian Justification Ethics and Reward theory Justification by personality rights/ the Personhood theory Conclusion The justification for the protection of IP Rights or dispute on the validity of IPR is as long as these protections have been enforced in western societies’ jurisdictions. Justifications for the Protection… Read More »

Justifications for the Protection of IP Rights | Overview Natural Rights Theory Utilitarian Justification Ethics and Reward theory Justification by personality rights/ the Personhood theory Conclusion The justification for the protection of IP Rights or dispute on the validity of IPR is as long as these protections have been enforced in western societies’ jurisdictions. Justifications for the Protection of IP Rights Over time, many classical justifications were developed, often...

Justifications for the Protection of IP Rights | Overview

The justification for the protection of IP Rights or dispute on the validity of IPR is as long as these protections have been enforced in western societies’ jurisdictions.

Justifications for the Protection of IP Rights

Over time, many classical justifications were developed, often used together to argue for the rights of intellectual property. One feature of these privileges is that monopolies are given for a certain period of time for the economic exploitation of a work or invention. Nevertheless, surprisingly, even for the biggest supporter of such monopolies it seems obvious that certain limits must be placed on the protection of intellectual property rights.

These explanations are explored in part for the purpose of this work to highlight, not to mention in the variations in which the justifications are often used, the challenges facing each one even in its pure form.

Some of the modern and classical justification theories that apply, including labour theories, incentive theory, the theory of motivation, the theory of nature law, theoretical moral theories, the theory of personality and economic theory and the theory of the natural monopoly, to decide to what degree intellectual property rights will enjoy protection.

I. Natural Rights Theory

The philosophy of natural rights assumes that everybody has a natural right to his ideas to explain intellectual property. The production comes from its author’s efforts and imagination. This theory’s meaning derives primarily from the principle of John Lock that an author has natural rights over his work.

In other words, this principle makes no difference between intellectual property, including the right to use, the right to rule out use and the right to pass it. Anyone who violates an author, creator or inventor’s intellectual right is therefore considered to commit a theft. Nevertheless, this theory lacks consistency because intellectual rights are based on things which are not, of course, appropriate and non-rival.

Locke’s natural law argument for the exploitation of worldly wealth starts with the most common and most important justification. Locke begins with his essential self-owning argument, where he argues that not only a person has his own personality, but also the results of his work, if he leaves for others enough and good.

Some utilitarian theorists (e.g. Cohen 1995) criticize the principle of self-own and the just exploitation of natural resources, and it is contested in libertarian philosophy whether the concept of self-own can be interpreted as consistent with the belief that natural resources must be distributed equitably.

The case of natural law for an intellectual property then argues that a creative work is the result of the work of the creator and that therefore he is the only owner and the only one that deserves it.

II. Utilitarian Justification

The utilitarian or substantive case for intellectual property rights is noteworthy for their essential rationale. Although the argument of natural law can be called into question, it is still the case that rational agents would not create creative works in equal numbers without the monetary incentives that contain the monopoly rights of intellectual property. The better for every group, the more innovative works are made. Therefore, they are justified if monopolies will increase the number of creative works.

This hypothesis, by definition, is based on the fact that industrial development and cultural goods have a positive impact on society. Thus, the holder needs to ensure that the effects are equivalent to the costs of his work to promote inventions and creations.

Intellectual rights are indeed an artificial incentive to development by the State Briefly, the principle of benefits supports intellectual rights by benefiting society as a whole.

The United States Constitution, including a special clause in the legitimisation of copyright and patent law, shows how deeply ingrained this view is in fact in allowing the U.S. Congress to ‘promote scientific progress and useful arts by granting the authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries’ for time limits.

III. Ethics and Reward theory

This argument defends the exclusive and moral rights to intellectual property. Ethically, the creator’s initiative in favour of social good must make a fair and equal contribution.

Exclusive rights “reflect an author’s thankfulness for doing more than society expects or feels obligated to do”. However, when incentives are offered to people who have done something bad and grievous for the benefit of society as a whole, we may doubt whether creators and inventors really deserve it. They definitely do not deserve it twice, as they understand this.

Others believe the inventor has already been compensated because the time between the creation of his invention and first copies is enough to reward him if the invention only takes place in advance. In this case, the exclusive right is clearly much more extreme.

IV. Justification by personality rights/ the Personhood theory

Copyright law in Europe includes more than just economic aspects, such as the exclusive right to exploit the work. The author in France and the individual in Germany are at the core of these rights, not just the ‘copy’ of the work.

Such rights referred to in international copyright law as ‘moral rights,’ are aimed at protecting the personal rather than just an author’s economic interests. They include the right to assign, the right to integrity, the right to disclose, and the right to withdraw.

It is said that such rights are justified because artistic works are almost universally understood as an extension of the personality of the author’. Hence the words ‘justification by personality rights’ are used.

According to this theory, everybody’s personality is made up of work and development. Personality growth is inherent in the property right that we have. Hegel, who is the main source of this theory, argues that intellectual rights allow and protect personality development that extends to material things. Similarly, the copier is regarded as a thief who offers somebody else’s spirit to the public.

Such an argument, however, is flawed in the sense that the personality is not associated or affected by the outcome of the development as it is not constitutive of the human person by itself. The research is independent of its author when the production is completed, but dependent on the public. The job, in truth, only gets substance because the others have decided to give it importance.


An effective and equitable system of intellectual property can help all countries realize the potential of intellectual property as a catalyst for economic development and social and cultural well-being. The system of intellectual property helps strike a balance between innovators ‘ interests and the public interest, creating an environment in which creativity and invention can flourish for the benefit of all.

For the economy and for further growth in areas such as research, innovation and employment, protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) is important. Health and safety also depend on efficient IPR enforcement. In addition, IPR creates and supports high-paying employment, stimulates economic growth and competitive performance, protects consumers and families, contributes to the development of breakthrough solutions, encourages innovation and awards entrepreneurs. For these reasons, both domestically and internationally, IP rights are worth protecting.

IPR rewards creativity and the human effort that fuel human progress.

By recognizing their creativity and offering a material reward for their marketable inventions, patents provide incentives for individuals. These incentives promote innovation, which in turn improves the quality of life for people.

Industrial designs make an article appealing and attractive; they thus increase the commercial value and marketability of a product. Where an industrial design is protected, an exclusive right to and safeguards against unauthorized copying or emulation of the design by a third party is guaranteed to the owner–the person or entity which has registered it. This contributes to a fair return on investment.

The consumer understands geographical indications to indicate the origin and quality of the products. Many of them have gained valuable reputations, which can be misrepresented by commercial operators unless adequately protected. Unauthorized parties are deceived by misusing the geographic information, for example,’ Darjeeling’ for tea not grown in the tea gardens of Darjeeling, that the consumers and legitimate farmers are deprived of valuable businesses, and the latter is deprived of property and damaged by the establishment.

Protection of copyright and related rights is essential to the promotion of human innovation and creativity. Increasing their activity and output and can increase their results by giving authors, artists and creators incentives through recognition and fair economic rewards.

By ensuring the existence and enforcement of rights, individuals and businesses can invest more easily in creating, developing and distributing their work globally. This, in turn, helps to enhance access to culture, knowledge and entertainment throughout the world and also encourages economic and social development.

WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) is a forum for the establishment and the harmonization of rules and practices for the protection of intellectual property rights, within the scope of United Nations specialized agencies. WIPO also provides global trademark registration systems, industrial designs and appellations of origin, and a global patent filing system.

The systems are regularly examined in order to assess how they can be improved to better satisfy the needs of users and potential users by the Member States and other stakeholders of the WIPO. Many developed countries have centuries-old intellectual property systems. However, many new or developing countries are developing legal frameworks and intellectual property systems in their patent, trademark and rights.

WIPO plays a central role in helping these systems to develop in the course of Treaty negotiation, through legal and technical support and through training in various forms, including enforcement, with the increasing globalization of trade and fast change in technological innovation.


  1. (2008) The Justification for IPR Protection. In: Intellectual Property in the Global Trading System. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  2. Intellectual property theories: are they fairly justified?, Available Here
  3. Andreas Von Gunten, Intellectual Property is Common Property, Available Here
  4. Göksu Özok, Why Intellectual Property should be protected, Available Here
  5. Bently L. and Sherman B., Intellectual Property Law (3rd edn Oxford University Press 2008), 36

  1. Basic Concept of Intellectual Property (IPR)
  2. 5 Leading Cases of Intellectual Property Rights
Updated On 12 Jun 2020 3:30 AM GMT
Ankita Mohanty

Ankita Mohanty

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