Protecting Intellectual Property Rights through Arbitration

Posted On : July 20, 2023
Protecting Intellectual Property Rights through Arbitration
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Intellectual property (IP) is a valuable asset for individuals and businesses alike, representing the innovative ideas, creations, and inventions that drive progress and economic growth. However, safeguarding these intangible assets can be a challenging endeavor, as IP infringement cases often involve complex legal issues, cross-border disputes, and lengthy court proceedings. In such scenarios, arbitration emerges as a viable and effective alternative for resolving IP disputes while providing protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a private and consensual method of dispute resolution where parties agree to submit their disagreements to an impartial arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators, who make a binding decision. It offers numerous advantages over traditional litigation, making it an appealing option for protecting intellectual property rights.

What is the Relation between Arbitration and IP Rights Protection?

It has been a long-evolving strategy to resolve intellectual property rights disputes using alternative dispute resolution procedures. In the backdrop of liberalization and globalization, institutional arbitration is becoming significant for the industries emerging in India, particularly the arbitration of IPR disputes.

The strength of intellectual property rights depends on the tools available to enforce them. In this context, issues concerning intellectual property rights are increasingly being resolved through arbitration as a private and confidential process, particularly when involved parties are from different jurisdictions.

Institutional arbitration is a process that is decided by arbitrators, chosen case by case by the parties to a dispute by mutual agreement or named by the courts, but by arbitrators chosen by the panel of institution who have been chosen for their in-depth knowledge of different fields and must follow norms, including fees, set by the institution.

All of these areas are increasingly defined by international transactions, where the applicable regulations differ from country to country and need a high level of knowledge in the domain in question. Another frequent aspect is the criticality of time, given that patent durations are short and technology can become obsolete quickly, and therefore the extended duration taken by courts to settle disputes beyond the capacity for appeal works against disputants' interests.

As a result, the arbitration procedure provides these industries with unique benefits. The greatest impediment to employing arbitration to address Intellectual Property Rights disputes is the problem of arbitrability.

Benefits of Using Arbitration for Intellectual Property Disputes

Here, we explore the key benefits of using arbitration in IPR disputes and how it contributes to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights;

Expertise and Specialization

Intellectual property disputes often involve highly technical and specialized subject matter. Arbitration allows parties to select arbitrators with expertise in the specific field of IP at issue, ensuring that the decision-makers possess the necessary knowledge and understanding of the complexities involved. This expertise enables the arbitrators to make informed decisions based on the merits of the case and industry standards, leading to fair and accurate outcomes.


Confidentiality is a critical aspect of intellectual property protection. In many jurisdictions, court proceedings are public, potentially exposing sensitive information to competitors or the general public. In contrast, arbitration offers confidentiality, as the proceedings and the arbitral award are not typically made public unless the parties agree otherwise. This confidentiality safeguard allows parties to maintain the secrecy of trade secrets, proprietary technology, or other sensitive information while seeking resolution for IP disputes.

Flexibility and Efficiency

Arbitration provides parties with flexibility and efficiency in resolving IP disputes. The arbitration process can be tailored to the specific needs of the parties, allowing them to choose the procedural rules, the place of arbitration, the language, and the timeline for resolution. This flexibility ensures that the dispute is resolved in a manner that suits the unique circumstances of the case. Additionally, arbitration often offers a more streamlined and expedited process compared to traditional litigation, saving time and costs for the parties involved.

Enforcement of Award

One of the primary concerns in IP disputes is the enforcement of the final decision or award. Arbitration awards are generally enforceable under international conventions, such as the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. This global enforcement mechanism provides a significant advantage, especially in cases involving cross-border disputes. Parties can rely on the New York Convention to enforce the award in multiple jurisdictions, enhancing the effectiveness of protecting intellectual property rights worldwide.

Preserving Relationships

Intellectual property disputes can strain business relationships between parties. Arbitration, being a more flexible and collaborative process, allows parties to maintain a level of control and participation throughout the proceedings. Unlike adversarial litigation, arbitration encourages parties to engage in open dialogue and explore opportunities for settlement, which can help preserve relationships and allow for future collaboration.

Neutrality and Impartiality

Arbitration offers a neutral and impartial forum for resolving IP disputes. Parties can choose arbitrators from different backgrounds and jurisdictions, ensuring a fair and unbiased decision-making process. This neutrality helps foster confidence in the outcome and encourages parties to abide by the final award, thereby enhancing the overall protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Why Arbitration in Intellectual Property?

The ability to enforce intellectual property rights determines how strong they are. In this setting, issues concerning intellectual property rights are increasingly being resolved through arbitration as a private and confidential process, particularly when parties from various jurisdictions are involved. There are certain unique aspects of intellectual property conflicts that arbitration may be able to address more effectively than court litigation. The following table provides a summary of some of the key characteristics of intellectual property disputes and the outcomes provided by domestic litigation and arbitration:

IPR Disputes

Court Litigation



·         Multiple proceedings under separate laws, with the possibility of contradicting outcomes

·         Actual or perceived home court advantage of party litigating in its own nation

·         A single legal proceeding determined by the parties

·         Arbitral method and arbitrator nationality can be impartial to the law, language, and institutional culture of the parties.


Public Proceeding

Proceedings and outcome are confidential


The decision maker may lack appropriate skills

Parties may appoint arbitrators with suitable knowledge.

Possibility of Appeal

There is a possibility of Appeal.

Less possibility for Appeal.


·         Procedural delays are common.

·         Injunctive remedy is provided in some jurisdictions.

·         The arbitrator(s) and parties have the option to shorten the procedure.

·         WIPO arbitration can involve interim measures and does not prohibit seeking a court-ordered injunction.



Arbitration serves as a valuable tool for protecting intellectual property rights in today's globalized and technology-driven world. Its expertise, confidentiality, flexibility, efficiency, enforceability, relationship preservation, and neutrality make it an attractive alternative to litigation. By opting for arbitration, parties can secure effective resolution and enforcement of IP disputes while preserving their valuable intellectual assets. As intellectual property continues to play a crucial role in innovation and economic development, utilizing arbitration for protecting and enforcing IP rights remains a prudent choice for businesses and individuals alike. If you are facing an IPR dispute, it is recommended to consult an IP right Protection expert or a civil lawyer in your area who has comprehensive knowledge on Dispute resolution for IP rights. For example, if you are living in Kolkata, consult a civil lawyer in Kolkata who has expertise in IP rights protection, intellectual property arbitration and arbitration process.


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