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Intellectual Property Rights: Protect your creativity!

Introduction

While building a brand name, using several platforms for marketing, advertising using a multitude of ideas, Startups disregard protecting their intellectual Property!

Startups tends to delay protection of their Intellectual Property Rights - writing it off as an added expenditure that the Company does not need to incur at an initial stage! Protecting an invention for a technology based company is as (or even more) important than marketing it over the internet or hustling to raise a round of investment!

Similarly, printing brochures and pamphlets and using them for marketing your brand name should be done subsequent to filing a trademark application and securing your rights in the mark!

MyAdvo will ease IP Protection for you!

QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE!

Intellectual Property like any other property grants exclusive rights to the owner of the property. Since IP is intangible and has no physical existence - people often forget to protect it!

Creator of the Intellectual Property can monopolise the creation providing such creator an essential position from a business perspective - which is mostly forgotten in the hustle to grow big, make money.

Young and dynamic entrepreneurs have golden ideas and startups are considered to be the ‘hotbeds’ of innovation. The relevance of IPR cannot be emphasised enough in today’s global economy, given the fact that a substantial part of the equity of biggest market players are actually held by their IP.

Consider the exorbitant amount of money you are willing to pay for an iPhone! Let’s remove the “I” from an iPhone and replacing the half-eaten-apple with a mango instead. Still willing to spend all that money for just the features? Didn’t think so.

IP matters to all business entities and reputation of any business is reflected in its IP. Simply put, IP means money and commands protection.

For Startups, IPR protecting becomes even more crucial since IP not only protects the brand name, inventions, creative products of a Company but also provides immense value to a Company! Investors are known to invest in a company on the basis of how IP rich it is!

Before you start using your Intellectual Creation publicly, it is recommend that you protect it!  

Never underestimate the power of Intellectual Property- get it registered today through MyAdvo!

In today’s world, intangible assets and intellectual property (IP) are increasingly beginning to redefine competition in a dramatic way. IP constitutes the core wealth of a technology company. While it is, therefore, crucial for a technology based company to develop an IP strategy that forms an integral part of its overall business strategy, it is sometimes surprisingly easy to neglect to do so or unsurprisingly difficult to know where to begin.

TYPES OF IP-

Broadly, the categories of IP rights that a start-up needs to protect are as under:

  1. Trademarks: Any mark capable of being ‘graphically represented’ and of distinguishing goods or services of one person from those of another may be registered as a trademark and includes devices, brands, headings, labels, tickets, names, signatures, etc. and even unconventional marks such as sounds marks. Domain names, too, are entitled to trademark protection. India recognizes well-known foreign trademarks and provides both statutory as well as common law protection to trademarks.

  2. Copyrights: A copyright is an exclusive right granted to an author or creator to copy and use his original, ‘creative’ work. Books, songs, films, softwares, logos, for instance, are all copyrightable.

  3. Patents: A patent is a right granted for a specified period of time to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing an invention without the consent of the patentee. In India, any new product or process involving an inventive step and capable of industrial application may be patented. In a very recent development, the Indian Patent Office has issued guidelines to enable patentability of software and business methods.

In developing its IP portfolio, a start-up must assess its overall business goals to determine whether its requirements would be best served by an approach that is offensive, defensive or strategic or a combination of any or all of these.

Protection of IP should be applied for at the earliest possible date. In almost all jurisdictions, disclosure of a technology or product before filing of patent disqualifies the invention from being patented and may constitute prior art. Delaying patent application and premature disclosure also expose a company to the risk of competitors patenting improvements to the company’s invention. Filing of a provisional patent application at an early stage would enable claiming of early priority date in future. Also, patent filing should not be initiated at a nascent stage where substantiation may become a challenge.

A good IP portfolio does not focus disproportionately  on one form of IP protection to the neglect of all other forms that may bring distinctive value to the business of the company. For instance, a company’s software invention could be patented, the musical tone accompanying it could be copyrighted and the brand name of the company could be trademarked resulting in the company being better able to protect its invention by leveraging both exclusivity, and, goodwill and brand loyalty.

The importance of investing in maintenance and audit of the IP portfolio of a company can hardly be overemphasized. This would include the company periodically identifying and keeping a record of all IP owned, used or acquired by it, reviewing the value of existing IP, following-up on renewals, identifying and managing enforcement and litigation issues, reviewing adequacy of IP policies and procedures, etc.

Treating IP protection as business investment on which returns may be expected rather than protection for the sake of it would help a start-up fully leverage its IP assets, create value for the company and use the IP assets to advance the business goals of the company. It should make better business sense to appreciate IP protection as a broader concept than just the right to exclude others and create market barriers. A start-up should also consider the value to be derived from sharing information, collaboration opportunities, market access through licensing, franchising, etc. and creating revenue streams from non-core IP. The IP strategy most likely to succeed is one which balances costs and opportunities. Most importantly, a start-up should chart out its IP strategy at the outset and continue to review and evaluate it from time to time.

In legal parlance, trademark is a mark or a symbol which can be graphically represented and has the ability of differentiating the goods, products or services of one entity from others. The broader term encompasses the shapes of goods, its patterns, designs or colors, the way they are packaged etc. The name, logo, product or service of a start-up is the crux of its business and thus, formulate a part of its trademark. Hence, it is important for any start-up company to protect these intellectual assets by registering them, so that no other entity can misappropriate with its trademark in any way.

Importance of trademark registration for start-ups

  • Trademark helps your consumers know you and your innovative products or services.

  • It helps in influencing your purchasers and distinguishes you from your established competitors.

  • It stimulates start-ups to provide best quality and maintain their quality standards in order to enhance its brand-image.

  • It enhances your competitive advantage with growing time and as your business expands.

  • It is an ideal way to promote your work, image, brand or messages across cultures, territories or languages via a single logo or trademark.

  • Trademarks help you gain popularity on internet and earn higher ranking on search engines. It helps in generating higher traffic.

  • Protection of trademark is comparatively less expensive than other intellectual property rights as after registering a trademark it protects a trademark for longer duration.

Start-up India Action plan is exclusively emphasizing on providing facilitation in trademark registration which will help start-ups overcome legal hassles in registering a trademark.

It is essential for a start-up to register its trademark because it provides proprietary rights over its trademark. It ensures a complete legal control over it and protects your trademarks from any illicit access or its misappropriation in any possible way. With registration of trademark, you can safeguard your entity against frauds and repulsive competition by raising legal action against them.

In addition, registration allows the start-ups to freely use/publish its trademark in any medium. It helps start-ups in carving their business entities and leading their businesses successfully. Start-ups can leverage their trademark to capture the attention of their consumers and in attracting an enduring attention of their target audience. A potential and registered trademark guarantees your place in the business vertical and lets you stand against established competitors.

If start-ups with registered trademarks decide to sell their idea or new venture then in such a case they can undertake the transaction smoothly. Sellers also insist buyers on getting their trademark registered in order to assure security of their future rights.

How MyAdvo can help start-ups?

MyAdvo provides round-the-clock legal assistance via its one-stop platform, where start-ups can seek information pertaining to trademark laws in India, recent government initiatives for Start-ups and procedural know-how from the IPR experts. We connect you with lawyers and law firms who are proficient in trademark and IP Acts, provisions and procedures. We facilitate a choice to select the right advocate by providing you proposals from different lawyers for comparison. We aim to provide you a facilitating platform with rightful law-relating assistance so that you can spread your wings smoothly in the business sky.

Copyright provides an exclusive right over the original works in the field of literature, art, music or cinematography to its creator. Industries or companies, who are engaged in artistic creations, products or literary writing/publications or designing computer software and programs are required to protect these copyrights as soon as they have created them. In India, the Copyright Act, 1957 prescribes the kind of work that can be copyrighted and governs their filing, issuance and registration in order to protect them from imitation, copying or plagiarism. Start-up companies who are engaged in producing original authorship works and are into developing innovative creations must copyright their work in accordance to the Act.

Why is it important for a Start-up to apply and get a copyright?

A copyright gives protection to everything that falls under the purview of the ‘expression of idea’. The registration of a copyright is assessed on different factors and it ensures protection of your work for over 60 years. It tangibly proves that it is your intellectual property and legally authorizes you to sue copiers or who counterfeit their work.

Emerging start-up companies that are into trading or rendering services through web channels must invest a good amount of money in developing a website which showcases their products/services in innovative and creative style. Similarly, the start-ups who are creating innovative computer software and program cannot let any other competitor to use their creative input or programming for their business.

Hence, start-ups must evaluate whether their work is susceptible to infringement and how long the work needs protection. After assessing these questions, the start-up can decide about whether it needs a copyright or not. Its registration will keep away the threat of commercial misuse of their work for substantial period of time.

Benefits of registering copyright

Be it your promotional advertisements or your brand new logo, they all formulate a part of your expression of ideas.  A start-up can seek copyright protection for different aspects of their new venture. The important consideration is that the expression of idea must contain novelty and originality. Whether your work is published, original or unpublished, it can be registered under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. The period of protection is prescribed in the Act which is based on the nature of work.

For instance, the period of protection for musical, dramatic, literary or artistic work excluding photography is lifetime for the owner and can further extend for 60 years from the date of his death. In case of publications, it is 60 years from the date it is first published. In cinematographic work, photography, sound recordings, the duration and applicability of copyright is 60 years from the last year in which it is first published.

A start-up will also have the right to reproduce the work or reissue copies of their work to the public. It will have the right to make any translation of its copyrighted work or to make any adaptations. It can restrain any kind of deformation or modifications in its work to protect the originality of work.

Lastly, registering a copyright does not involve heavy cost and in such little cost, it ensures long-term protection to the start-up.

How can MyAdvo help you?

MyAdvo gives you a wide range of options and opportunities to get direct information or legal help from the lawyers depending on your budget and requirements. Our universal platform is effectively connected with experts, law-firms and advocates who are well verse in copyright laws and registration procedure. We will help you in getting best legal assistance and provide you an array of proposals from the experts.

Patent is the most valuable intellectual property right. A Patent protection essentially provides the right to safeguard an invention for a prescribed period of time. The only requisite for a Patent Application is that the new invention must showcase novelty of the invention, as well as its usefulness. It can be either in the form of a process or in the form of a product. A Patent protection ensures that the invention is protected from being copied. In India, patents are granted as per the provisions prescribed under Patent Act, 1970. A start-up designing a new and novel process and/or product ought to file for a patent application in order to secure the ownership of any such invention.

Today, start-ups are making dynamic and novel advances in different streams i.e. mechanical, bio-technology, medical, genetics, computer, food etc. The recent ‘Start-up India Action Plan 2016’ by the Government of India emphasizes on enhancing IPR awareness and facilitating registration of patents, trademark and designs by start-up companies. Let us take a glimpse of the importance of patents for start-ups:

  1. Patent protects ideas from competitors- The business market for start-up companies is extremely competitive and these companies have limited resources. They are completely dependent on their ideas, innovations and inventions which need to be protected in its country of origin and also in foreign countries from the unforeseen infringements from incumbent competitors.

  2. Patent gives access to funds from investors and financiers- If you have patented your product or process, then the investors will feel secure in investing funds in your venture or project. It facilitates a start-up in attracting venture capital investment from investors or financial institutions.

  3. Patent can safeguard a start-up from any kind of pilfering of its innovation- A start-up having a registered patent of its innovation can approach the judicial system of India against any theft or infringement of its innovation or invention. With the support of law, a start-up can get injunction on its invention and keep the big rivals away from imitating its idea or process.

  4. Patent allows a start-up to generate revenue and operate business freely- Start-ups which file the patent early and obtain the Patent grant in time can freely operate their business without any fear of being dominated by the big players. Also, it can focus on expanding and succeeding its business at greater heights.

The process of patent registration is time consuming and involves numerous procedures. There are very few patent examiners in India and hence there is no definite patent examination tenure in the application system. The average number of years involved in granting any patent application is approximately 6 to 8 years.

In order to boost start-up’s confidence and to protect their innovative ideas, the government announced certain facilitation under Start-Up India Action plan, which includes:-

  • Special Rebate in Patent costs

  • The process of patent registration would be faster for start-up companies

How can MyAdvo help you?

If you are an entrepreneur who intends to start an innovative venture and needs information with regard to patent application or registration, then MyAdvo can provide a universal platform to attain best legal assistance and connect you with best patent lawyers. We shall help you get best advises, optimal legal solutions from different experts with regard to Patent Application Filings, Trademarks, Copyrights, Designs, Start-up India Action Plan, Foreign Patent Applications etc.

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