This article is written by KOMAL SALONI, pursuing B.B.A.LL. B (Hons) from Jamnalal Bajaj School of Legal Studies, Banasthali Vidyapith. This is an exhaustive article which deals with the different issues between Human Rights and Intellectual Property Rights.


Human Rights Law and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) law are completely two contrasting areas of law. Since their inception, they developed separately from one another. None of them contravene on each other’s realm. As it has been recently perceived that both the field of law are associated with one another. There is a perspective that both the laws of Human Rights as well as IPR are in fundamental disagreement with each other. Accordingly, it has been observed that Intellectual Property Rights law infringes on the various Parts of Human Rights Law, particularly concerned with social, economic, and cultural rights. Another aspect is that both the Laws can co-exist simultaneously.


The extension of the Intellectual Property Rights stimulated the discussion towards the correlation between Intellectual Property Rights and Human Rights because many developing and least developed countries are not in a situation to implement the TRIPS standards in their dominion without compromising the development in their country at the price of Human Rights.

The Government should acknowledge their assert towards their conventional understanding over the matter, which is interconnected with biodiversity, agriculture, etc. 

  • Indigenous Communities 

As stated by the Intellectual Property Rights Authorities, the traditional acceptance is contemplated to be a part of the public realm, because it does not encounter the established standards for the protection of private ownership. Given that the traditional understanding is left unused, many private enterprises make use of this knowledge for further innovation and subsequently shield their innovation by way of copyrights, patents, etc. but the indigenous communities are underprivileged of their legitimate shares.

However, the existing defect in the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) system of the government taking advantage of the indigenous communities by several enterprises, which lead the way of infringement of the Human Rights of the indigenous sections. The Government should introduce codification for the sake of the indigenous groups where they can seek damages for unaccredited use of their conventional knowledge. The Government can also safeguard the objects, which have been obtained from the traditional knowledge by repudiating the copyrights, patents, etc. 


Intellectual Property Rights and Human Rights both are very important as one is a non-fundamental right i.e., IPR. But both contradict in many aspects. To understand that it is important to have deeper knowledge in that area.

In 1948, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nation. As a result, the declaration constitutes the universal acceptance that fundamental freedoms and basic rights are immanent to all human beings, equally applicable to every person.

  • Make a difference in the world

In case someone is looking for a career in Human Rights and a field of study in this which lead the way towards positive impact and basic rights, human rights possibly a good fit. Human rights are all about recommending for the rights and freedom of the people. 

Human rights professionals work in various corporations like government agencies, social service organizations, law firms, international organizations, and even businesses. They also work in different countries for the positive change in the direction of protection of rights for endangered groups and better responsibility towards the government.

 The Study endorses that to attain the need of spreading awareness about Intellectual Property Rights, protecting their intellectual ability the Professionals, Students, Researcher need to have proper knowledge about the matter. 


The discussion on the correlation of both the laws, human rights, and IPR has frequently attracted two utmost views — a conflict perspective and a coexistence perspective. There is a wider scale of economic, social, political, philosophical, and practical issues that mount the convergence of human rights and IPR. These engrossing and challenging matters are attracting increasing attention from Judges, government officials, attorneys, and scholars, whose activities are mapping the contours of a rapidly changing legal landscape.

As mentioned in the middle of the topic Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) articulate a constitutionally secure interrelation between human rights and IPR. 

After several consultations when TRIPS was finally approved the global perspective towards Intellectual Property Rights go through an enormous modification. However, developing and less-developed countries remained aggressive on the probable dispute of the agreement is inverse towards the consciousness of social, economic, and cultural rights. Later on, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) highlights the extensibility built into the TRIPS concurrence and on the various International Trade agreements in arrangement to raise the possible conjunction of Human Rights and Intellectual Property Rights.

The discussion on both the rights organization was advanced along with the committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in 2006 by the process of General Comment No. 17. The statement provided reliable elucidation of Article 15(1)(c) of the ICESCR make it understandable that not all characteristics of Intellectual Property Rights have Human Rights standing. 

In the keynote, The impact made by the TRIPS agreement is considered extensive than aforesaid antecedent international legal documents. Considering stocks of the Post TRIPS era, it is perceived that some important elements of Intellectual property authority like the scope of protection and the subject-matter of protection have increased promptly in conventions and national legislations — considering the laws of developing nations with regards to recently developed online Information Technologies (IT). 

Continuously changes in global spirit remain the discussion between human rights and Intellectual Property Rights vital. A continuous opposition in this domain is to affect the balance of rights between human rights and IPR. Frequently it is problematic to understand the specified intellectual property standards interchange with the provisions of human rights implementation that are generally prepared in inclusive language. 

Besides, the challenges became major while there is not any comprehensive solution for the whole country to complying with the different given rates of development.


The UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (UDHR) is probably the most eminent international document that gives utterance to interpret the Human Rights rule, which efficiently annotates the Intellectual Property Rights on a global scale. 

“Every person has the Right to voluntarily take part in the civilization of the communities, to delight in the arts and culture, and to giving part in its scientific advancement and its welfare.”

 “Every person has the Right to sustain the morale and vital interests accompanying from any artistic production, scientific or literary of that one whose he is the author.”

These two subsections of the same provision of the UDHR show the compound and sometimes questionable connection, which may give rise to inconsistency, among the Intellectual Property Rights and Human Rights.


As many questions came out, Do Human Rights associate with the totality of IPR?

Are unquestionable IPR impute protection from the human rights ambit? While scrutinizing the similarity, which rights should be contemplated from the colossus formation of human rights? While answering these questions it unavoidably turns on to one’s basic assumptions, worldview, philosophical dispositions, and ideological values.

Although it is challenging this association between human rights and Intellectual Property rights needs to be renewed and scrutinized.  Now the time is to encourage the creation and innovations towards the country that extend towards humanity completely. Also, the individual objectives and interest matters it is the need of the hour to think about collective and sustainable development.


The specific rights that are being compromised should be recognized, for the settlement of the conflict between Human Rights and Intellectual Property Rights. Firstly, The Human Rights bodies should enlarge specified interpretations of those questionable rights (primarily social, economic, and cultural rights) to assemble them with the terms of the TRIPS Agreement. Secondly, whether TRIPS Agreement is observed from the Human Rights perspective, then the consumers of Intellectual Property products and the owners of the Intellectual Property products will be on equivalence. The agreement outlooks the consumer of their products as inferior to owners of these products. If the Human Rights aspect is adjoined to the agreement, then the consumers will also be counted as the bearer of those internationally approved rights. Thirdly, the governments should foist maximum standards for IPR protections, instead of advocating minimum standards. This would act as a boundary for the increasing standards of Intellectual Property Rights protection. Lastly, the international forums that make new laws on IPR such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), etc., must analyze the laws with the perspective of Human Rights Law and IPR Law that they can co-exist properly.

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