IP Rights vs Personality Rights

Wednesday, 01st May, 2024
Author: Samairah Nagpal

The Case

The Delhi High Court recently issued a ruling in favour of Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor, restricting the use of his name, voice, image, and other personality aspects for commercial gain without his consent. This case arose after Kapoor sought legal protection against the unauthorised commercial exploitation of his persona, which included AI-generated images and voice clips. 

The court recognized the need to protect celebrities' personality rights, emphasising that the unauthorised use of a celebrity's persona for commercial purposes can infringe on their right to control and monetize their own image and likeness.

But a question arises here - what is the difference between personality rights and intellectual property rights?

Difference Between the Two

Intellectual property rights are the rights a creator has over their creation. Things like copyrights, trademarks and patents all apply when a person has invented or coined something. They all have an expiration date.

Personality rights, however, are the rights of a person over the commercial use of their identity. Some famous examples are Elvis Presley’s estate, Jenifer Aniston and French footballer Kylian Mbappe.

Unlike IP rights, personality rights do not have a particular expiration date. Even today, Marilyn Monroe’s heirs still control and profit from the use of her images.


The ruling in Anil Kapoor’s case underscores the importance of personality rights, which safeguard individuals against unauthorised commercial exploitation of their identity. This encompasses their name, image, likeness, and other unique characteristics. These rights are crucial for celebrities who rely on their persona for endorsements and other revenue streams. 

The court's decision aims to prevent damage and misuse of these elements, especially in the era of advanced technologies that can easily manipulate personal attributes for commercial use.