Role of Indian Coast Guard in Maritime Security

This blog post has been authored by Jay Maniyar


As a maritime nation-state, maritime security is critical to India. With a large coastline of 7516 km, India has much to worry about as far as its maritime safety and security are concerned. Challenged by a panoply of traditional and non-traditional security threats to its survival, India employs the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) to guard its waters. Official statements describe the Indian Coast Guard as a “multi-mission, round-the-year” organization tasked with monitoring India’s massive coastline every day. The ICG is headed by a Director-General while its headquarters are based in New Delhi. Five Coast Guard regions have been devised for effective command and control.

As a coastal security force, the ICG is concerned with the overall maritime security of the country. The ICG governs India’s territorial waters and its contiguous and exclusive economic zones which extend up to a total of 200 nautical miles from the maritime baseline of the country. The ICG is a maritime law enforcement agency and is concerned with illicit activities such as human smuggling, drug trafficking, potential terrorism, and other forms of maritime crime at sea. The ICG has 15,714 personnel within its ranks, 175 vessels for duty, and 44 aircrafts. The ICG was established through the Coast Guard Act of 1978.[1] It was devised and set on course for duty on February 1, 1977. The Act officialised its operations and legalized the ICG as an armed force of the Union of India.

To learn more about maritime law and security, enrol for Diploma in Maritime Law and Security. 


The ICG plays a pivotal role in India’s overall coastal security because it is an agency that is concerned with everything to do with the coastal waters. Moreover, its duties now extend to preserving India’s blue economy, which is an area which has emerged as an engine of growth for the country. The ICG is the foremost, first-rate force which provides coastal security to the country and is even involved in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR).

The ICG also assumes a key and central role in the overall maritime security of India because it is the second-most important agency of security after the Indian Navy (IN). The ICG, in particular, does not play second fiddle to IN and is actively involved in maritime-naval exercises, seabed security, security to the untapped energy reserves in the EEZ and other activities which have to take place across the EEZ. These further emphasize the importance of the Indian Coast Guard in India’s maritime security regimen.

Within the inventory of the ICG are several offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), pollution control vessels (which pertain to the health of the maritime ecosystem), fast patrol boats, hovercrafts, intelligence survey ships, and many others. The ICG has a strong inventory which can be expected to officiate duties that would otherwise pose hindrances and problems to India’s maritime security. The ICG is a stand-alone force and it is not merely a force which is to play second fiddle to the Indian Navy. It is to be a coastal and maritime security mechanism by itself through its well-arranged hierarchy.

The Indian Coast Guard undertakes duties ranging from the safety of islands, offshore terminals, installations, etc. to the protection of fishermen who are facing distress at sea.[2] As far as legal responsibilities are concerned, the ICG is responsible for enforcing the Maritime Zones of India Act 1981 which governs the fishing regulation by foreign vessels. The ICG also assists customs and other authorities in anti-smuggling operations.

As far as foreign Coast Guards are concerned, coast guard-to-coast guard cooperation takes place in the form of joint maritime-naval exercises, joint patrols called Coordinated Patrols (CORPATs), and cooperation and collaboration at the officers’ level (training, education, sharing of best practices, etc.).  Coast Guards cooperate much like navies do because maritime security has largely become an area dominated by common security concerns and the need for joint missions and better interoperability during crises.

The Indian Coast Guard is no different. The Indian and regional Coast Guards have agreed to cooperate by signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs). India cooperates chiefly with Coast Guards in its immediate proximity such as those of Thailand and Indonesia. Thus, it can be seen that the Indian Coast Guard takes ample interest in the larger maritime security affairs of India and is keen on linking up with regional bodies that serve their nations in a similar way to the ICG.

The technology used by the Indian Coast Guard includes a Coastal Radar Surveillance System, Automatic Identification System (AIS), and various cameras and sensors. These ensure technological adeptness and provide for better surveillance and improve upon the manual abilities of Coast Guard personnel. As can be understood from the above, the ICG is a high-tech force and continues to upscale its technologies to achieve maritime-naval dexterity and fight maritime crime and other such problems at sea.

To learn more about maritime law and security, enrol for Diploma in Maritime Law and Security. 


Maritime security is a continual process which requires that there should be round-the-year observance, surveillance, and response mechanisms in place. The Indian Coast Guard is a state-of-the-art coastal security force that is responsible for the coastal security of the country. The Indian Coast Guard battles traditional and non-traditional threats in an insecure environment around the Indian maritime zones. The Mumbai 26/11 attacks which shocked the nation were initiated through the maritime routes from Pakistan to India. Such destruction has catalyzed an improved Coast Guard and the accompanying security apparatuses.

At the time, India had accorded the responsibilities for coastal security to the State Marine Police. However, following the ghastly terror that was unleashed in Mumbai, the Indian Coast Guard was made responsible for the security of the Indian coastline of 7516 km. This was approved by the central government in February 2009. The Coast Guard has also been made responsible, in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, to ensure synergy and coordination between coastal and state maritime security agencies. This further entrusts it with a major role in the holistic maritime security of India. Today, the Indian Coast Guard provides much much more than ordinary coastal security and is integral to the entire maritime security of India.

The many forms of surveillance provided by the Indian Coast Guard[3] are the following:

1) On the Beat: This covers the ICG’s mere presence at sea. The ICG will also be expected to provide first response to maritime crime or natural disasters. The presence of the ICG is akin to a maritime policeman.

2) Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Surveillance: The ICG is expected to provide surveillance to the 2 million square kilometres (sq. km.) of India’s EEZ. This surveillance is expected to preserve resources, sustain the maritime environment, and secure communication between ships and oil platforms (for example).

3) Aerial Surveillance: Shore-based aircrafts and helicopters in the Indian Coast Guard are supposed to provide for rescue operations and options to assist the Indian Navy’s maritime-naval arm, too. High technologies are also provided to the aircrafts and they are also expected to respond to oil spills or other ecological disasters.

4) Extended EEZ Surveillance: The ICG is also expected to assist its partners with surveillance of their EEZs owing to low coastal security capacities within their navies or the absence of Coast Guards in their entirety.

5) Coastal Security: Coastal security is the fundamental and foremost duty of the Indian Coast Guard. Contingency plans created by various maritime-naval agencies are conducted by the ICG as part of its coastal security operations.

6) Offshore Security: Offshore security is akin to coastal security but envisages a broader plan and perspective for the maritime domain. Anti-terrorism, anti-piracy, and port security are undertaken by the Coast Guard as part of its offshore security mechanisms.

7) Boarding Operations: The ICG is also entrusted with searching vessels and other merchant ships such as oil tankers for nefarious activities such as maritime crime, smuggling, trafficking, etc. ICG officers board suspect ships to inspect them and then initiate the necessary mechanisms to ensure that the maritime domain remains crime free.

As can be seen from the above, the ambit of operations of the Coast Guard is quite exhaustive and extensive. The Coast Guard is expected to conduct duties such as surveillance, initiate first responses to contingencies such as disasters and pirate attacks, combat maritime criminals and bring them to the jurisdiction of law, and be responsible for the overall coastal security of the country.

The Coast Guard can be further expected to expand its duties. They can provide coastal escort for merchant ships to de-burden navies while they can also be expected to take up some of the duties of the navies themselves. The Coast Guard is a foremost coastal security force and it will serve the force well to continue to broaden the ambit and scope of its duties. The Coast Guard is presently India’s second most important maritime security force in comparison to the Indian Navy.

To learn more about maritime law and security, enrol for Diploma in Maritime Law and Security. 


A continually improving Indian Coast Guard will secure India better

The Indian Coast Guard remains a strongly vigilant force that continues to upgrade its capabilities and capacities in an urgent manner. With upgraded technologies, a broader scope and vision, and expanded duties, the ICG is a force to reckon with and remains at the helm of the maritime security affairs of the nation. A strong and capable Coast Guard provides for a safe and secure coastline and, effectively, a safe and secure India. Only such a worthy coastal and maritime security body will secure India in the short, medium, and long terms.

For a country that is now an aspirant to atmanirbharta (self-reliance in defence production and procurement), India must have a strong and capable Coast Guard in place to ensure that it achieves the goal of SAGAR or Security And Growth for All in the Region. This coupled with uniquely Indian initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) or SAGARMALA (a chain of ports and coastal community-led development in India) will have to be secured by the Coast Guard and only then will they achieve their maritime security goals.

India’s maritime security has traditionally been weak since maritime security agencies have always been given no importance in the hierarchy. The Indian Army remains the most important instrument for securing the country. The Indian Navy is third even after the Indian Air Force. Thus, the Coast Guard suffers from a similar predicament and was only founded several decades after India’s independence. It is hoped that such negligence will become a relic of history and the ICG will be a prominent force for Indian national security.

To learn more about maritime law and security, enrol for Diploma in Maritime Law and Security. 

[1] Source:

[2] Source:

[3] Source:


Intellectual Property in Fashion Industry

This blog post has been written by Akanksha Sudhakar


As long as there have been fashion houses-and almost as long as there have been people making clothes- there are countless occasions where there has been a need to consult lawyers. Some years ago, the words “fashion” and “law” were not linked, and fashion law wasn’t a specialised area of law practice. Today, a few short years later, there is a legal field made to measure for the business of fashion. Many law students [and even practicing lawyers] equate fashion law with intellectual property laws. One might reasonably consider intellectual property to be at the core of fashion law, since the value of fashion-as opposed to clothing-rests in large part on the fascination of a brand, and that fascination is protected primarily by intellectual property law.

The term intellectual property, conventionally understood, includes, on a federal level, utility and design patents and copyrights; on a federal and state level, trademark and trade dress protection; and on a state level, trade secret protection, the right of publicity, the right against misappropriation, and other causes of action that vary by state.[1]

This article discusses in detail, the role played by intellectual property in fashion industry.


Intellectual property, especially in the form of trademark protection is often one of the most valuable assets owned by a fashion enterprise. Indeed, in today’s fashion world, many companies are little more than vendors of licenses to use well-known brand names in connection with particular categories of apparel and accessories.[2] Trade marks do not directly protect textiles or fashion garments but the way in which designers can use their trade marks in their designs can enable their creations to come under the remit of trade mark law. This central emphasis on trademark protection is arguably the result of the fashion’s function as an indicator of social status[3] and the lack of copyright protection for fashion design which largely shifts the emphasis from what is being sold to who is selling it. Whatever the explanation, trademark protection tends to eclipse other forms of intellectual property protection in the fashion world.

To learn more about Fashion Law, enrol for Diploma in Fashion Law.


On the other hand, the laws of copyright is often described as “bundle of rights” that are granted to the creator of an original work of authorship that is fixed in tangible form.[4] The Supreme Court of the United States has explained that the word “original” has a special meaning in the context of copyright; a work may be “original”, even if it is not entirely novel, provided that it was “independently created by the authors opposed to copied from other works- and that it possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity”.[5] This is a low threshold, however, while evaluating protection for the copyright-eligible categories of fashion design, we might reasonable come to an inference that the otherwise lax originality requirement may have more “teeth” when it comes to clothing and jewellery.

A lot of such instances in the fashion law not only has determined whether a party has infringed on one’s copyright, but it must first assess the validity of the copyright and then evaluates whether ‘substantial similarity’ exists between the plaintiff’s work to that of the defendant’s. The validity of one’s copyright in a fashion article relies on a number of factors, including the “idea/expression dichotomy” and, particularly important for fashion design, the “separability” test. In determining whether substantial similarity exists between the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s works that could potentially give rise to a copyright infringement, federal courts typically ask whether

  1. a non-trivial amount of the original work was used[6], and if the amount used was more than de minimis
  2. whether the ordinary observer [unless is set out to detect the disparities] would be disposed to overlook them, and regard their aesthetic appeal as the same.[7]

Even where drawings or photographs of garments are protected by copyright, the garments themselves have long been considered ‘useful articles. Since, majority of the copyright legislations around the world excludes ‘useful articles’ from federally copyrightable subject matter, clothing generally receives no protection under the copyright law. Newcomers and many long-established designers are also surprised by this situation and many have argued that ‘useful article’ bar to protection makes little sense in an age where much of fashion is more ornamental than functional.[8] However, garments along with other types of fashion accessories, are eligible for copyright protection to the extent that their design “incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculpture features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article”.[9]

The common case of infringement that takes place in the fashion industry is that of the large high-street chain copying a smaller fashion designer. The way that Issa is copied is indicative of this. Issa deals with copycats and takes action, but many designers do not have access to advice, nor funds to deal with copycats in the same way. It is true that to an extent the designers accept that being copied is recognition for success; however, this does not mean that they are flattered by it, nor does it stop them from taking action where action is available. Today, copying is easier than ever, with the ease of access of information and liberalised trade in textiles and clothing, the often-cheaper copies being imported from a low-wage developing country especially now that the trade has been liberalised.

The rampant copying has caused high fashion designers to accept that being copied is part of the process and there is too much copying and different degrees of it to stop it all. Thus the only way to deal with this as designers is to keep innovating. As Miuccia Prada puts it, “The highstreet, actually is a kind of good. The only thing is that you’re always forced to do something new, something more. You are never allowed to enjoy anything because it’s always everywhere and then it’s over, over, over in a very short time.”[10]

In this context, copyright does not play that much of a role, as it only bites when copying has taken place and the rightful owner chooses to take action. This does not support the Piracy Paradox but highlights the reality of the industry and how IP protection is not just about action taken afterwards but equally about protection before as well as innovation and creativity. Taking action is not always seen as an option for designers not only for cost and time expenses but also for lack of information and availability of IP services.


On the other hand, protecting valuable information as a trade secret always comes into play when one discloses information on a new project, novel technologies or solutions in the context of potential research or business collaborations. One might share sensitive information, expertise, and specific plans on how a project should be carried out during meetings with possible business, research, or financial partners. To safeguard all confidential information shared during the meeting, one needs to make sure that they have their partners sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), either one-way or mutual. This gives a legal foundation on which one can defend their rights if one of the prospective partners violates its confidentiality.

But one thing that needs to be taken in account is that trade secret protection is only useful for inventions that rivals won’t be able to deduce from looking at your product and company’s public elements which is another difficulty that is face while protecting their inventions. This is because one the information comes in the public knowledge, the trade secret protection automatically ceases to exist.

To learn more about Fashion Law, enrol for Diploma in Fashion Law.


The inventive component of a design in the fashion business can also be protected under the patent law. But, in order to do so, there are two considerations that must be taken in order for a design to be patented. They are novelty and originality. A design needs to be novel and Original. It should have been made for the first time because of its nature. The design must also be feasible from a scientific standpoint. However, the fashion business does not use patent law very frequently. The technical sector has a greater prevalence of them. A patent registration is an expensive and time-consuming process. The fashion industry has little value in this sector because it is so dynamic.[11]


Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v. My Other Bag, Inc.,[12]

This case of copyright violation is very well-known. In this instance, the company ‘My Other Bag’ created a parody tote bag with a print of a Louis Vuitton image. My other bag was the target of a lawsuit by Louis Vuitton for its design and copyright theft. In this case, the hon’ble court ruled that the parody accounts could convey two concurrent, and contradictory meanings. Louis Vuitton, the petitioner, complained that the defendant had attempted to imitate their copyrighted design. The petitioner added that it is attempting to defend its IP rights in its defence. The court rejected the accusations since the defendant’s offering was a parody.

Puma SE v. Forever 21, Inc.[13]

Infringement of copyright and design were issues in this case. Puma filed a lawsuit against forever 21 for allegedly copying the limited-edition shoes that the well-known singer Rihanna created for the company known as puma. The singer Rihanna personally developed the Creeper Sneaker, Fur Slide, and Bow Slide for the Fenty line. The court in this case decided that a product does not automatically fall under the umbrella of copyright production merely because a particular celebrity is associated with it or has supported it. Copyright is issued based on the originality and novelty of a particular design as well as the design’s individuality. The lawsuit and this case made no mention of Rihanna.

To learn more about Fashion Law, enrol for Diploma in Fashion Law.


First of all, the consumers need to be informed and made aware that the sale of fake goods not only damages the brand but can also directly harm them, such as when it comes to the quality and safety of the products they buy or the absence of warranties. In addition to the negative effects fake fashion has on the economy and the environment (mass production, low-quality chemicals used, annual disposal of tonnes of clothing), this uncontrolled sector frequently uses sweatshops, with all the negative effects and ramifications these have on people. Additionally, it is well known that many counterfeit businesses are linked to organised crime, and fake currency has also emerged as a go-to source of funding for terrorist organisations.

Competing with counterfeiters may be difficult, discouraging, and dangerous for a brand. However, the majority of internet players are developing tools to help brand owners efficiently combat counterfeits online. For instance, Amazon recently debuted “Project Zero.” Automated protections will continuously monitor the website and proactively delete suspected counterfeits after receiving from the brand the logo, trademark, and other essential information from Amazon. Additionally, without having to first get in touch with Amazon, this solution enables marketers to easily regulate and remove listings from the Amazon shop.


Technology can therefore, be your best ally when it comes to safeguarding a fashion brand’s intellectual property online. Artificial intelligence (AI), like Project Zero and other such programmes, has demonstrated effectiveness in the fight against counterfeits, cutting down on the time that businesses must devote to a manual search for prospective infringers. One can now rely on software and AI to attempt to remove counterfeiters effectively because there are so many platforms and counterfeiters. But keep in mind that any IPR asset must be successfully protected through the use of conventional methods like customs or legal procedures in the battle against counterfeits. This is because IP and fashion are interconnected. They both co-exist, and neither can survive without the other. IP law is required to increase any fashion design’s monopoly and serves as a shield against the ills of duplication and plagiarism.

To learn more about Fashion Law, enrol for Diploma in Fashion Law.

[1] Charles E. Coleman, ‘An Overview of Intellectual Property Issues Relevant to Fashion Industry’ (Navigating Fashion Law), Aspatore (2012).

[2] Vicki M. Young, ‘JA Apparel Said to Favor Licensing Model’ (Women’s Wear Daily, 21 July 2011), <>  accessed on 30 August 2022.

[3] Barton Beebe, ‘Intellectual Property and the Sumptuary Code’ 123 Harvard Law Review (2010) at p. 809.

[4] Feist Pubs v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 US 340, 355 (1991).

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ringgold v. Black Entertainment TV, 126 F.3d 70 (2nd Circuit).

[7] Peter Pan Fabrics Inc. v. Martin Weiner Corp., 274 F.2d 487 (2nd Circuit).

[8] Amy M. Spindler, ‘COMPANY NEWS; A Ruling by French Court Finds Copyright in a Design’ (The New York Times, 19 May 1994), <> accessed on 30 August 2022.

[9] Section 101, US Copyright Act.

[10] D Llewelyn, Invisible Gold in Asia: Creating Wealth Through Intellectual Property (Marshall Cavendish Business 2010) at p. 36.

[11] Beebe, B. (2010). INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW AND THE SUMPTUARY CODE. Harvard Law Review, 123(4), 810–889.

[12] 18-293-cv (2d Cir. Mar. 15, 2019).

[13] No. CV17-2523 PSG Ex, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211140 (C.D. Cal. June 29, 2017).



Role of Intellectual Property in Cyber Law

This blog post has been written by Dr. Apoorva Dixit


The Intellectual Property Rights[1] protect the original work in fields of art, literature, photography, writing, paintings, even choreography in written format, and audio, or video files. The IPR protects these works both in tangible and intangible form. Patent, Copyright, Trademarks, Trade Secrets, Industrial and Layout Designs, Geographical Indications are intellectual property rights for which legal remedies are available even for online infringements.

With the technological advancements and innovations in cyber world the global markets have benefitted the copyright or patent owners. However, every good innovation has its own pitfalls as violation of IPR has become one of the major concerns because of the growth of cyber technology. The IPR and Cyber law go hand in hand and cannot be kept in different compartments and the online content needs to be protected.

The ever-increasing and evolving cybercrimes are not confined to cyberstalking, frauds, cyberbullying, phishing, or spamming but are also infringement of IPR- copyright, trademark, trade secrets of businesses carried online, audios, videos, service marks by illegal practices like hyperlinking, framing, meta-tagging, and many more.

What are Intellectual Property Rights in Cyberspace

IPR can be defined as – “Intellectual property rights are the legal rights that cover the privileges given to individuals who are the owners and inventors of a work and have created something with their intellectual creativity. Individuals related to areas such as literature, music, invention, can be granted such rights, which can then be used in the business practices by them.”[2]

Types of Intellectual Property Rights[3]

Intellectual Property Rights can be further classified into the following categories −

  • Copyright
  • Patent
  • Trade Secrets, to name a few[4]

Every innovation in technological zone becomes prone to threats. The cyberspace on one hand has facilitated e-commerce, connecting with friends and family, publishing the literary works, and sharing knowledge but at the same time these personal data or copyrighted or patented data become vulnerable to various cyber-attacks.

It is best suited to have an effective intellectual property management strategy for all the e-businesses encompassing a considerable number in cyberspace.

There are various laws nationally and internally to safeguard intellectual property against cyber-threats, but it becomes the moral duty of the owner of IPRs to take all the required protective measures to negate and reduce illegitimate virtual attacks.

Intellectual Property Rights in India

For the protection, the IPRs in Indian soil, various constitutional, administrative, and judicial rules have been defined whether it is copyright, patent, trademark, or other IPRs.

Legislations Enacted to Protect IPR[5]

In the year 1999, the government passed an important legislation based on international practices to safeguard the intellectual property rights. The same are described below−

  1. The Patents (Amendment) Act, 1999, facilitates the establishment of the mailbox system for filing patents. It offers exclusive marketing rights for a time of five years.
  2. The Trademarks Bill, 1999.
  3. The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1999.
  4. Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Bill, 1999.
  5. The Industrial Designs Bill, 1999, replaced the Designs Act, 1911.
  6. The Patents (Second Amendment) Bill, 1999, for further amending the Patents Act of 1970 in compliance with the TRIPS.

Learn more about the IP regime in India with Enhelion’s Diploma in Intellectual Property: Law and Management.


A. Copyright Infringement:[6]

“Copyright protection is given to the owner of any published artistic, literary, dramatic, or scientific work over his work to exclude everyone else from using that work on his own name and thereby gain profit from it.”

The infringement of these copyrights includes the usage without the permission of the owner, making and distributing copies of software and unauthorized sale of the same, and illegitimate copying from websites or blogs.

  • Linking:

Linking refers to directing a user of a website to another webpage by action of clicking on a text or image without leaving the current page. It poses a threat to rights and interests of the owner of the website and the owner can lose the income as it related to the number of users visiting the websites. It may lead users to believe that the two websites are linked and are under same domain and ownership.

In Shetland Times, Ltd. v. Jonathan Wills and Another[7], it was held to be an act of copyright infringement under British law and an injunction was issued as the Shetland News’s deep link was supposed to be with the embedded pages of the Shetland Times’s web site, but they were also linked to the Times’ website.

With digitisation there is a threat to copyright ownership and rights over their own innovation as it has become easy to mould various components of copyright elements into variety of forms by the process of linking, in-linking, and framing. This requires no permissions to be accorded.

Deep linking is challenging to manage as there are no clear-cut laws at both national and international level and this ambiguity becomes advantageous for cybercriminals who try to breach the copyrights. The rights of the owner of copyrights on one hand and free availability of information on another is needed to be balanced to ensure smooth working of online resources and businesses. Reading Sections 14 and 51, Indian Copyright Act, 1957, a legal issue emerges whereby it is not clear as to the exact stage when the reproduction of the copyrighted work is being committed[8]. The ambiguity lies in tracing the copyright infringement that is it at the stage of formation of deep link without the disclaimer of accessing a link which needs no approval or at the time when a user accesses the link at his will.

Another challenge is with the in-linking links. On a browser visited by a user accessing the link is created with map to navigate and fetch images from various sources, these images are copied by final user who is clueless that he is retrieving those from different websites. Like deep linking, the problem of tracing the infringement remains the same as it is difficult to track the exact phase of reproduction of the copyrighted images. The in-line link creator is guilty of copyright infringement though not directly distributing it but giving way to facilitate making of unauthorized copies of the original website content thereby falling under the purview of Section 14 Copyright Act, 1957. However, the final user has no mens rea or knowledge of any violation of copyright and is thus caught off-guard.

  • Framing:

Framing is another challenge and becomes a legal issue and debate subject over the interpretation of derivation and adaptation under Section 14 Copyrights Act, 1957. The framer only provides users the modus operandi to access copyrighted content which is retrieved from a website to browser the user is accessing so they cannot be held responsible for copying, communicating, or distributing the copyrighted content. The question arises whether getting the copyrighted content from a website and combining with some more to create one’s own will amount to adaptation or interpretation under law or not.

B. Software Piracy:

Software piracy refers to making unauthorized copies of computer software which are protected under the Copyright Act, 1957.

Piracy can be of following types:[9]

  • Soft lifting – this means that sharing a program with an unauthorized person without a licence agreement to use it.
  • Software Counterfeiting – Counterfeiting means producing fake copies of a software, imitating the original and is priced less than the original software. This involves providing the box, CDs, and manuals, all tailored to look as close to original as possible.
  • Renting – it involves someone renting a copy of software for temporary use, without the permission of the copyright holder which violates the license agreement of software.

C. Cybersquatting And Trademark Infringement:

Trademark means a unique identifier mark which can be represented by a graph and main idea is to differentiate the goods or services of one person from those of others and may include shape of goods, their packaging and combination of colours.

Cybersquatting is a cybercrime which involves imitation of a domain name in such a manner that the resultant domain name can dupe the users of the famous one with an intention to make profit out of that. This is executed by registering, selling, or trafficking of a famous domain name to encash a popular domain name’s goodwill.

When two or more people claim over the right to register the same domain name then the domain name dispute arises when a trademark already registered is registered by another individual or organization who is not the owner of trademark that is registered. All domain name registrars must follow the ICANN‘s[10] policy.

Meta tagging is a technique to increase the number of users accessing a site by including a word in the keyword section so that the search engine picks up the word and direct the users to the site despite the site having nothing to do with that word. This may result in trademark infringement when a website contains meta tags of other websites thereby affecting their business.

There are certain conditions which need to be fulfilled for a domain name to be abusive:

  1. The domain name can be said to be abusive if it gives the impression to the users of being same as another popular trademark which is a registered one and users mistakenly access the fake one made with mal intention of gaining profit by diverting users of popular trademark domain.
  2. The registrant has no legal rights or interests in the domain name.
  3. The registered domain name is being used in bad faith.

Learn more about the cyber law regime in India with Enhelion’s Diploma in Cyber Laws. 


The various international conventions treaties and agreements for protection of intellectual property in cyberspace are : “Berne Convention (1886), Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Trademarks (1891), Hague Agreement Concerning the Registration of International Designs (1925), Rome Convention for Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (1961), Patent Cooperation Treaty (1970) Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (1994), World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (1996), World Intellectual Property Organization Performances and Phonograms Treaty (1996), and Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (1999), in consolidation form the international instruments that govern Intellectual Property Rights.”[11]

Berne Convention (1886) protects the IPRs in Literary and Artistic Works and for the developing countries specialised provisions are provided.

Rome Convention (1961) covers creative works of authors and owners of physical indicators of intellectual property. It permits the implementation at domestic level by member countries where the dispute falls within purview of adjudication by International Court of Justice unless resorted to arbitration.

TRIPS (1994) is a multilateral agreement on intellectual property that has the widest coverage of IPRs like copyrights and related rights.

UDRP (1999) is for the resolution of disputes on registration and use of internet domain names.

Learn more about the IP regime in India with Enhelion’s Diploma in Intellectual Property: Law and Management.


Section 51 of Copyrights Act, 1957 is noticeably clear that exclusive rights are vested in the copyright owner and anything to the contrary constitutes copyright infringement thereof[12]. Since there is no express legislation to determine the liability of Internet Service Provider (ISP), Section 51 can be interpreted to fall within the ambit with respect to the facilitation of server facilities By ISPs for stockpiling user data at their business locations and which is broadcasted for making profit through charging for services and advertisements. However, to interpret in such a way the other ingredients are to be fulfilled in a cumulative manner, these ingredients are ‘knowledge’ and ‘due diligence’ to hold ISP liable in abetment of infringement of copyright.

Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules 2021 and Section 79 IT Act, 2000 provide conditional safeguard from liability of the online intermediaries, but at the same time its open for interpretation under any other civil or criminal Act. IT Act 2000 makes an intermediary non-liable for any third-party content hosted on its site. The 2021 Guidelines entail following of diligent approach by the intermediaries to avail protection or exemption under Section 79 IT Act, 2000. Therefore, it becomes crucial for initiative-taking judicial interpretation depending on the facts of each case.


Cyberspace has no borders and Intellectual Property disputes have become a global concern with mixed infringements and cross border disputes. For prescription, adjudication, and enforcement of law the legal disputes will come under jurisdiction of a Court or not becomes a worrying concern as there is no clear-cut rule of law. A country as a sovereign power has powers to adopt a criminal law for to an offensive act was committed outside its borders may but which has an impact within its territory. Following the international law, Courts can assume universal jurisdiction to prosecute a cybercriminal.

Evolution of various of theories and legal concepts has been witnessed to deal with this much anxiety of jurisdictional issues with respect to adjudicating the infringements of intellectual property in cyberspace. The most significant of these are the Minimum Contacts Test, the Effects Test, and the Sliding Scale Test or ‘Zippo Test’ taken from US Courts. The Minimum contacts test is applicable where one or both parties are out of territorial jurisdiction of the Court but there is a contact with the State in which the Court is located. The Effects test is applicable at the territory of the Court the effects or injury of any cyber-crime is experienced. The Sliding Test is related to personal jurisdiction regarding the interactions with commercial information over the internet between the non-resident operators.

Section 75 IT Act, 2000 is applicable to cybercrimes committed outside India if the offence involving a computer, computer system, or computer network placed in India. Section 4 IPC, 1860 extends its jurisdiction to offences committed in any place outside India targeting a computer resource located in India. The courts in India can adjudicate against the intellectual property infringements in cyberspace and they protect the intellectual property owners by means of judicial activism and effective jurisprudence.

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Along with the technological advancements and innovations it becomes imperative to protect the sensitive data and information and the intellectual property online by resorting to stricter legal measures. As newer types of cybercrimes affecting intellectual property are cropping up, so it becomes essential to enact new laws as traditional regulations are not sufficient to render justice as the challenges faced in protection or tracing the infringers of intellectual property in cyber world is quite challenging.

For smooth sail and facilitation of global trade and e-commerce and various businesses conducted online the import and export are necessarily provided a secured atmosphere to protect IPRs. Novice and updated technological practices to protect copyrighted content is absolute necessity like encryption, cryptography, digital signatures, and digital watermarks. It is important to keep a record of all the work with ownership of IPRs to identify the author, numbers or codes involved with such works. Taking the route of legal redressal of dispute is not the only solution but it is very much required on part of copyright, patent, trademark, and various other intellectual property rights owners to be initiative-taking and take all necessary precautions in protecting their works and be updated with the current technological measures of protection for IPRs. Social engineering attacks are generated or started by people, and the answers and solutions to these problems would come from people only.

[1] Hereinafter referred to as IPR

[2] 2022. Intellectual Property Right. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 14 June 2022].

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] 2022. Intellectual Property Issues in Cyberspace. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 14 June 2022].

[7] Shetland Times Ltd. v. Dr. Jonathan Wills and Zetnews Ltd. [1996] (Court of Session, Edinburgh).

[8] Banerjee, S., 2021. Intellectual property rights law in cyberspace. [Blog], Available at: <> [Accessed 15 June 2022].

[9] 2022. Intellectual Property Issues in Cyberspace. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 14 June 2022].

[10] ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the private, non-government, non-profit corporation with responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system (DNS) management and root server system management functions. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) previously performed these services.

[11] Banerjee, S., 2021. Intellectual property rights law in cyberspace. [Blog], Available at: <> [Accessed 15 June 2022].

[12] Ibid