Why founders should know about Intellectual property rights?

Why founders should know about Intellectual property rights?

Why founders should know about Intellectual property rights

Abhijeet Bhand

Intellectual Property Strategist

Founder – Kanad Lab

If you analyse all Fortune 500 companies, you will definitely find the role of soft power behind their success. These soft powers are different for different companies. For some it is a kind of expertise, some techniques or may be a business intelligence. If you research further, you will find one unique link, a kind of soft power usually working behind the curtains; and that is Intellectual Property Rights (IPR’s). For most of us, we have at least heard of this word. For those who haven’t, they might have heard about patents, trademarks, copyrights and designs; which are nothing but various types of intellectual property rights.

A famous example of Intellectual Property (IP) based business is “General Electricals” (GE), which was “Thomas Electricals” previously from the name of its founder. The famous inventor, Thomas Edison founded the company and the core part of the company was Intellectual Property Rights. Maybe, this is the reason why it continued to grow till date. There are numerous other prominent examples of IP-based companies like Apple, Microsoft, Deloitte, BCG, etc.

Often we deal with properties like a piece of land or vehicle or any physical object. But intellectual properties are a bit different from them. All properties can be broadly classified into two categories:

1.Physical or tangible properties; which includes all properties which exist physically, which can be sensed and touched physically by our organs, like furniture, car, clothing, jewellery, etc.

2.Non-physical or intangible properties; which includes properties which exist either digitally or legally and cannot be touched physically. Examples include stocks of companies, cryptocurrency, confidential information, designs, etc

Intellectual properties (IPs) are non-physical or intangible properties. Government issues certain exclusive legal rights to the creators of unique and useful industrial, scientific and artistic creation. Such creation may include anything ranging from designs, sketches, literature, recordings of videos and audios, inventions, brand names, trade symbols, business secrets, etc. There are different IPR’s for different types of creations. For example, patents are for protecting scientific inventions, copyrights are for expressions of literature and art, trademarks are for protecting business identities like brand name and logo, etc.

IPRs are territorial rights, they are not international rights. It means that if you protected a patent in the US, it will be valid only in the US and not in India. There are separate processes for protecting different IPRs. After examining the application, if the applicant satisfies all legal conditions, government gives certain exclusive rights to the creator for a specific period. These are intellectual property rights.

IPRs are very crucial for growth and expansion of any business. It give business an opportunity to enjoy competition-free market. And that is what leads to exponential growth of a business. This is one of the important factors which differentiates modern-age businesses from conventional ones. We will be discussing these differences in depth in coming issues.

You may wonder why discuss IPR in a startup magazine, as this is the subject is mostly of interest for large corporations and not for startups. But please understand that the same large corporations were themselves startups not long ago! And they are where they are today because of their protected Intellectual Properties!

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