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Intellectual Property for Startups 
Dr Ravi Vaikuntachar
What is intellectual property? 
 Creation of the mind resulting in useful 
contributions to the society at large. 
 Huma...
Types of IP 
 Copyrights (art, literature, music, video, software 
code, etc) 
 Trademark (brand protection – name, symb...
Features 
 IP rights are territorial in nature (other than 
copyrights) 
 Rights are granted for limited period of time ...
Trademark registration 
 A graphically represented mark capable of 
distinguishing the goods / services of one person fro...
Patent filing 
 Invention = idea + reduction to practice 
 Patent requirements 
o Novel 
o Non-obvious 
o Industrial app...
To file a patent or not? 
 Pros 
o Keep others out of market (exclusion rights) 
o Restrict competitors 
o Earn through l...
Business risks 
 Big companies protect their inventions and clear their 
products from possible infringements to protect ...
Apple vs. Samsung 
 Apple Inc. sued Samsung Electronics Co. in April 
2011. 
 Apple claimed that Samsung infringed four ...
Case in India 
 Ericsson sued Micromax claiming 100 Cr in 
damages over patent infringements in Delhi High 
Court on wire...
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Protecting intellectual property (ip) at startups - Ravi Vaikuntachar, Manager - IP Analytics, Honeywell

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“Protecting Intellectual Property at Startups” was a highly interactive
one with questions from entrepreneurs leading to much learning for all. Some key takeaways from the
session: 1) IP is not a “ghost” to be feared, but a “friend” to be nurtured 2) Familiarize yourself with all
aspects of IP relevant to your business and your idea. Just being informed helps you manage about 70% of
the risk 3) The vision of the Startup should lead to an IP strategy that allows easy answers to key questions
like – Should I patent or not? Which markets should I file patents in? etc. 4) Myths around IP should be
shattered (example: unclear explanations of ideas to obfuscate full disclosure can leave Startups with a
lack of protection) 5) The philosophy of patent protection should be understood – Governments give
inventors a monopoly for a certain period of time in return for full disclosure from the inventors so that
the next inventor/entrepreneur can execute and push the envelope for the general benefit of society 6)
Misuse of patents can kill a company. Founders should do an initial patent search to ensure that they are
not in violation. 7) Patent services companies are highly skilled (and expensive) but Startups may want to
consider hiring these services because shortcuts often lead to significant exposure 8) Startups that are
bootstrapping, can consider a provisional patent filing 9) Intellectual property is not just patents -
Copyrights, Trademarks and Trade Secrets offer protections that should be considered as well. Indian
entrepreneurs should take IP seriously to build credible businesses.

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Protecting intellectual property (ip) at startups - Ravi Vaikuntachar, Manager - IP Analytics, Honeywell

  1. 1. Intellectual Property for Startups Dr Ravi Vaikuntachar
  2. 2. What is intellectual property?  Creation of the mind resulting in useful contributions to the society at large.  Human tendency is to protect and possess a physical thing they have. Same goes with creations of mind.  IP rights – state provides monopoly rights to exclude others from practicing your IP in exchange of making the IP public.  In general IPR aids the economic development of the state / country by promoting healthy competition and encouraging industrial growth.
  3. 3. Types of IP  Copyrights (art, literature, music, video, software code, etc)  Trademark (brand protection – name, symbol, etc)  Patents (technical advancements)  Designs (shape, configurations, patterns, etc)  Trade secrets  Geographical indications (Scotch, Champagne, Banarasi Saree, etc)  Plant varieties  Integrated circuit layout designs
  4. 4. Features  IP rights are territorial in nature (other than copyrights)  Rights are granted for limited period of time (except trademarks) o Patents – 20 years o Designs – 14 years o Copyrights – 70 years  Protection not available for what is already known in the public domain
  5. 5. Trademark registration  A graphically represented mark capable of distinguishing the goods / services of one person from those of others  Any person / company can register the marks with patent & trademark offices.  Registration in India costs ~Rs.10,000/- for a single word / graphic mark under one class. May cost additional Rs.10,000 – 15,000/- if you take Attorneys help.  Registration in US costs $375/-. Attorney costs vary between $500-$1000/-.  Decision to register a TM in single / multiple countries depends on the business vision you have for your products / services.
  6. 6. Patent filing  Invention = idea + reduction to practice  Patent requirements o Novel o Non-obvious o Industrial applicability o Unity of invention  Priority date – first to file  Filing strategies o Provisional - buy time for 12 months, save cost, strengthen idea o Foreign filing through PCT - buy time for 36 months from first application date, evaluate markets outside o File in a foreign county directly if you are sure about doing business only in that country o Maintain it as a trade secret – guard against breach of confidentiality o Don’t file – publish defensively to stop others from patenting your invention
  7. 7. To file a patent or not?  Pros o Keep others out of market (exclusion rights) o Restrict competitors o Earn through licensing revenues o Earn credibility from investors o Enhance marketing  Cons – cost o India – approximately Rs.400,000/- for full life of a patent. o US – approximately $25,000/- for full life of a patent.  Evaluate cost benefits of obtaining a patent. Ask yourself, is this patent going to gain more value than the filing and maintenance cost of it?
  8. 8. Business risks  Big companies protect their inventions and clear their products from possible infringements to protect their brands and avoid litigation costs (basically avoiding opportunity losses)  Non – practicing entities often called as patent trolls target big companies / start –ups to file infringement suits  Valuation of a start-up may be lowered if inventions are not protected and products pose infringement risks  Start- up with a single product line (usual case) faces maximum risk if patent system is not understood  Litigation costs run into millions in US. Can be devastating for a start – up (operations delay, cost,
  9. 9. Apple vs. Samsung  Apple Inc. sued Samsung Electronics Co. in April 2011.  Apple claimed that Samsung infringed four industrial design patents, covering the look and feel of the devices, and three utility patents, which cover how the gadgets work.  At issue are Apple’s design patents 677 and 087, which cover iPhone designs; 889, which covers the design of the iPad; and 305, which covers the iPhone graphical user interface.  Jury found Samsung guilt of infringing on Apple’s design patent. Samsung had to pay $1.049 billion.  Leading devices (Galaxy) may be banned in US.  Samsung designed Galaxy Tab in Germany to avoid ban.
  10. 10. Case in India  Ericsson sued Micromax claiming 100 Cr in damages over patent infringements in Delhi High Court on wireless technology standards. Court in its interim order asked Micromax to pay upto 2% of sale price of disputed devices.

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