Protecting your Innovation-Startup and IP

If your startup has come up with a new invention which has never existed in the market before, has innovated an already existing product in terms of better performance, or has made such a product more cost effective than ever before, you must immediately develop an appropriate IP strategy that matches your business or business plan. Every startup must concentrate on strategizing their IP strategy according to the need of their business.

Why should you strategize your IP rights as startup?

A startup with the right IP portfolio will be able to protect the company’s competitive space, thereby delaying the entry of competitors and helping it to establish itself in the market. If as a startup, you do a smart IP planning, you can create entry barrier for other startups with the same products as you.

Which IP right is important for a technical product or process?

You can consider having patent rights if your startup has invented technology to provide solutions to problems. In order to get a patent, your technical solution must pass four criteria:

1.It should be novel worldwide.

2.It should be inventive in nature, i.e., it should be non-obvious. In other words, there should be a technical advancement in your product or process.

3.It should be industrially applicable.

4.Your invention should be patentable under the Indian Patent Laws 1970.

Now, a question might arise in your mind – how would I know whether my invention is patentable under Indian Patent Laws? In order to know this, you may refer to the 3rd and 4th sections of Indian Patent Act 1970. Once you are aware of the criteria of getting your product or process patented, you must search its patentability.

If you are willing to protect your product or process, you must file a patent immediately, because if you disclose the details of your invention before filing a patent, your invention will lose its novelty, it will fail to meet the requirement of novelty. It is strongly advised to not reveal your invention’s details until you have filed a patent. And if in case you have to disclose the details for business purposes, you must make sure that the other person has signed an NDA.

There are many startups that don’t file a patent until the end product is ready. I must say that it is an extremely risky thing to do as there’s a chance your competitor is getting the same product in the market and files a patent before you do.

Some points to consider before filing a patent:

1.You must make sure that your patent is well drafted and the claim section in your patent specification must cover the critical analysis of your invention, because claim determines the protection of your patent.

2.A startup should very responsibly choose its patent attorney as a patent attorney is like a doctor to your invention.

3.While filing a patent, you must also do a market study of your technology or invention. Patent is a country-specific right and therefore it is only limited to the country you have applied in. Market study can help you know where all is the market for your technology.

What are the stages for patent process?

1.If you have invented something you think is new, your first step should be to get a novelty and patentability check done for it through patent searching.

2.If your invention passes the patent search, it is eligible for patent filing. The next step would to be to draft your patent, i.e., patent drafting.

3.Once the drafting is done, your patent can be filed.

4.After the filing, the patent can be published.

5.The published application is then examined by Patent Office Examiner.

6.Once the examination is done, you are provided with an FER, which will contain the objections of patent office, to which you or your patent attorney will be answerable.

7.After you have replied, if the Patent Examiner is not satisfied, they can call for a hearing.

8.If the Patent Examiner is satisfied and your patent fulfills all the patent criteria, you will be granted a patent.

Startup India launched SIPP for Indian startups under which, the filing fees was reduced up to 80%, startup patent application process can be faster than ever and starter facilitator facility is also provided to startups.

So, this is how you can maintain a good IP strategy for your company. You must not hesitate to invest on your IP strategy just like you don’t hesitate while making other investments in your business.

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