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In this page: Business Contract | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework of Business | International Dispute Resolution


Business Contract

General Observation
A contract may be oral or in writing. However, certain contracts are required to be in writing and may even require registration.
Law Applicable to the Contract
Contained in the Indian Contract Act, 1872.

India is not a signatory to the Vienna Convention on International Contracts.

Advisable Incoterms
Choose FOB or CIF, or more. Avoid EXW if you do not want to be involved in organizing domestic transport in India.
Language of Domestic Contract
English or Hindi (other local official languages are also sometimes used)

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
Controller-General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks
Copyright Office
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority
Department of Information Technology
National Intellectual Property Organization (NIPO)
Regional Organisations
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
Membership to the TRIPS agreement - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed

Patents Act, 1970

20 years Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Trade Marks Act, 1999
10 years, renewable every 10 years with a grace period of 6 months for renewal. Trademark Law Treaty
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Designs Act, 2000
10 years, renewable for another 5 years.  

Copyright Act, 1957

60 years, varies for different works.

Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Industrial Models
Semi-Conductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act,2000
10 years, non-renewable.  

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
India is ruled by law and non-discriminatory treatment of all cases is dictated by the constitution.
The Language of Justice
Recourse to an Interpreter
Interpreters in other foreign languages are easily available.
Legal Similarities
The Constitution of India – 1950

The country also has separate personal law codes for Muslims, Christians, and Hindus.


The Different Legal Codes

The Indian legal codes could be categorized as follows.
For details, visit the site India Code website.
1. Constitutional Law
2.Criminal Law
3.Civil Law
4. Human Rights Law
5. Commercial Law
6.Company Law
7.Labor Law
8.Health Law
9.Mining Law
10.Tax Law
11.Banking Law
12.Communication and Media Law
13.Transport and Maritime Law
14.Environmental Law
15.Intellectual Property Law
16.Arbitration Law
17.Energy Law
18.Agriculture Law
19.e-commerce Law
Checking National Laws Online
Legislation India
India Laws
Country Guides
Lexmundi, Legal information about India

The Jurisdictions

The Supreme Court It is the guardian of the Constitution and the highest court of appeal.

Its exclusive original jurisdiction extends to any dispute between the Government of India and one or more States.

For details, visit the web site: Supreme Court of India

21 High courts There are 18 High Courts in the country, three having jurisdiction over more than one State, taking the total number to 21. Only Delhi alone has a High Court of its own. Other six Union Territories come under the jurisdiction of different State High Courts.

Works of High Courts mostly consist of appeals from lowers courts.

For details, visit the web site: Indian Courts

District courts District Courts administer justice at a district level.

The highest court in each district is that of the District and Sessions Judge.

For details, visit the web site: Indian Courts
Sub-ordinate courts Low level: the court of Civil Judge (Junior Division) and the court of Judicial Magistrate.

Middle level: the Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) and the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

Top level: At the top level there may be one or more courts of additional district and sessions judge with the same judicial power as that of the District and Sessions judge.

Tribunal It is a generic term for anybody acting judicially, whether or not it is called a tribunal in its title. For example, an advocate appearing before a Court on which a single Judge was sitting could describe that judge as 'their tribunal'.

 For details, visit the web site: Indian Courts


Court Officials

Attorney General of India
It's the Indian government's chief legal advisor, and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. The person to occupy this position must be eligible for becoming a judge in the Supreme Court of India.
Practicing advocates
A student after completing bachelors' degree in law in India needs to enroll with the State Bar Councilto register himself as a Member of the Bar, in order to practice in the District Court and High Court.

However, the Supreme Court of India insists upon passing of a separate examination conducted by it after having a minimum of 5 years experience at the Bar enrolment.

Public prosecutors
It's the equivalent of the US District Attorney. The Public Prosecutor represents the state in court.

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International Dispute Resolution

Recognized under Indian law as a legitimate method for settling disputes, used both in the domestic and international transactions.

However, foreign investors frequently complain about a lack of "sanctity of contracts." Critics say that liquidating a bankrupt company may take as long as 20 years.

Arbitration Law
Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996 (for details visit Indian Council of Arbitration), based on the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Model Law on international Commercial Arbitration.
Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Party to the Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses.
Party to the Geneva Convention of the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Appointment of Arbitrators
The number of arbitrators to hear a dispute shall be determined as under:

1. In case the claimed amount does not exceed INR 10 million and the arbitration agreement does not specify three arbitrators, the dispute will be heard and settled by a single arbitrator.

2. In case the claimed amount exceeds INR 10 million, the dispute will be heard and determined by three arbitrators, unless the parties to the dispute agree to refer the dispute to a sole arbitrator.

Arbitration Procedure
After hearing both parties, the arbitrator makes an award.

When an award has been made, the arbitrator shall furnish a true copy of the award to all the concerned parties by registered mail.

To avoid delays and further litigation, the arbitrator shall ask the parties to agree that the award made by the arbitrators/s shall be final and binding on the parties and neither party shall be entitled to challenge it in the Court of law.

Permanent Arbitration Bodies

International Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR)

(Sectors Covered: ICADR has been established as an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Law and Justice and Company Affairs to promote settlement of domestic and international disputes through different modes of alternate dispute resolution.)
Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA) (Sectors Covered: ICA 's objective is to propagate and popularize the idea of arbitration in disputes.)

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Latest Update: April 2024