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Intellectual Property Rights, Corruption in Business and Administration

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.

Intellectual property rights are customarily divided into two main areas:-

(i) Copyright and rights related to copyright

The rights of authors of literary and artistic works (such as books and other writings, musical compositions, paintings, sculpture, computer programs and films) are protected by copyright, for a minimum period of 50 years after the death of the author.

Also protected through copyright and related (sometimes referred to as “neighbouring”) rights are the rights of performers (e.g. actors, singers and musicians), producers of phonograms (sound recordings) and broadcasting organizations. The main social purpose of protection of copyright and related rights is to encourage and reward creative work.

(ii) Industrial property.

Industrial property can usefully be divided into two main areas:-

  • One area can be characterized as the protection of distinctive signs, in particular trademarks (which distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings) and geographical indications (which identify a good as originating in a place where a given characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin).

The protection of such distinctive signs aims to stimulate and ensure fair competition and to protect consumers, by enabling them to make informed choices between various goods and services. The protection may last indefinitely, provided the sign in question continues to be distinctive.

  • Other types of industrial property are protected primarily to stimulate innovation, design and the creation of technology. In this category fall inventions (protected by patents), industrial designs and trade secrets.

The social purpose is to provide protection for the results of investment in the development of new technology, thus giving the incentive and means to finance research and development activities.

A functioning intellectual property regime should also facilitate the transfer of technology in the form of foreign direct investment, joint ventures and licensing.

Corruption is not a recent phenomenon. It has precisely been defined as a deviant human behavior, associated with the motivation of private gain at public expense. Corruption promotes illegality, unethicalism, subjectivity, inequity, injustice, waste, inefficiency and inconsistency in administrative conduct and behavior. It destroys the moral fabric of society and erodes the faith of the common man in the legitimacy of the politico-administrative set up.

 Corruption in Indian Administration o In 70s, political leaders of India began instructing their subordinate administrative officials to collect illegal funds from the people. o This gave free hand to the administration to oppress and exploit people in all the ways they could.  For eg:

  • Delays in working until a bribe was paid to them,
  • Illegal arrests until a protection fee was paid to the police,
  • Wrong billing by public utility companies if the officials are not bribed. o Gradually, the process percolated to the lower- most levels of administration, and bribery became a usual thing for any job by an official.

CORRUPTION IN BUSINESS

Corruption is one of the worst enemies of business because it can result in far-reaching consequences, including total closure of the company. The vice can be perpetuated by an individual or a group of employees within a business organization.

 Corruption in business involves misappropriation of funds, bribery, misuse of office by company officials and dishonesty in financial matters. Its magnitude notwithstanding, corruption can hurt the image of the business and jeopardize its profitability.

The Effects of Corruption on Business

  • Inefficiency
  • Lost Resources
  • Weakened Development
  • Increases Crime

Problem: –  Heavy fines, damaged reputations and jail sentences – recent scandals prove that corruption in business doesn’t always bring profits. Almost a fifth of executives surveyed by Ernst & Young claimed to have lost business to a competitor who paid bribes. More than a third felt corruption was getting worse. Corruption distorts markets and creates unfair competition.

Companies often pay bribes or rig bids to win public procurement contracts. Many companies hide corrupt acts behind secret subsidiaries and partnerships. Or they seek to influence political decision- making illicitly. others exploit tax laws, construct cartels or abuse legal loopholes. Private companies have huge influence in many public spheres. These are often crucial – from energy to healthcare. So it’s easy to see how corruption in business harms taxpayers’ interests.

Solution: – Private sector corruption calls for a three-pronged approach.

  1. Companies can take internal steps to prevent it. They need a zero-tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption. And it must be enforced through specific anti-corruption measures.
  2. But companies also need an honest operating environment. So we must make sure that governments enforce international anti-bribery laws and conventions. This protects companies from corruption across borders and down supply chains. 3. We need to help make sure these approaches are effective. This means more transparency from everyone involved with markets. Then we can hold businesspeople to account for their actions.

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