What do you understand about Natural Right Theory in Intellectual Property?

Natural right theory is also known as Labour Theory which is propounded by John Locke. According to him, Everyone has a natural property right in his or her ideas.

He believes that the author has a natural right over his creation applying his intellectual labour.

Natural right theory or Labour Theory is applicable on all properties whether tangible ( movable & immovable) or Intangible (IP).

When a person puts labour then his work need to be protected as if it happened in the physical world.

John Locke further classified labour – effort, originality, inventiveness of creation.


Rights available to them


Right to enjoy

This right is available to the person who gets Intellectual Property Right and he enjoys his right over other people.


Right to restrict others from using it

The owner of the right can exercise his right without letting others from using his work which means he can restrict others from using it.


Right to transfer the ownership

The owner who is enjoying the right over his property whether tangible or Intangible can transfer his right of ownership to others.


Natural Right theory criticism


William Legget criticised the natural right theory and said that this theory doesn’t deal with temporary limitations. And it asks for joy applicable on subsequent innovators.

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