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Startup’s Guide To Intellectual Property

Startup’s Guide To Intellectual Property

Intellectual property are assets that are essentially creation of mind and patents, designs, copyright, trademark, logo etc constitutes different facets of intellectual property.

How Correct Intellectual Property May Be A Game Changer In Any Business

I would like to share few examples that will make you understand how one wrong choice of Intellectual property strategy may make or destroy a company.

Let us take an example of our very own coca-cola, a beverage available present at every nook and corner. How coca-cola is able to survive for such a long period, the answer lies in its choice of intellectual property protection.

Coca-cola opted for trade-secret over patents and till date they are successful in keeping their formulation of the beverage save and intact. In case they would have opted for patents, their product lifecycle would have reduced to 20 years as maximum patent protection lies till 20 years.

Their signature formulation would have been out in public and company would not have achieved what it has achieved.

So what does it teach us, The above example makes it clear that trade secrets is the correct and apt choice for start-ups venturing in food businesses another examples in same line would be Mc Donald’s mayonnaise recipe, KFC signature crunchy chicken.

Let us take one more example, what Intellectual property will best suit the technology inclined startups. The answer here will be patents. The reason being inseparable feature of technology is that it will be ever evolving and will become redundant after certain period of time.

Hence once a technology driven company comes out with a new technology or a feature it shall proceed to file a patent. As patent secures exclusive monopolistic rights for a certain period of time long enough to ripe the benefits of technology before it gets redundant because of new developments or demand in market and how one can forget the evergreen case of Apple vs. Samsung.

Let us also take another classic example of Monsanto strategy of business based on their clever intellectual property strategy. Monsanto produce various types of seeds and they were afraid that they cannot license it in India as they conveniently did in US. So instead of opting for patent licensing in India, they opted for patenting their seed production process and sold impotent seeds which cannot be reproduced once grown by farmers. So once the farmer has cultivated their seed the only option left with him is to go back and buy new seed packet and hence, their correct choice of Intellectual property strategy made them survive in different market structures such as US and India.

Another form of intellectual property that is not so intellectual still is very valuable is Trademark registration. I categorically mentioned it as not so intellectual as who would have imagined that a half bitten apple will have a valuation over millions of dollars.

But why this is worth protecting and creating, because it is essential to create a brand name, as it associates you with the target customer, the customer recognize and identifies you with your brand name and appearance.

And how neglecting its protection may damage your business, let us take another example of famous Panchi petha of Agra. The PANCHI PETHA is world famous and everyone who go to visit Tajmahal buys one for themselves but once you enter in Agra you will notice that every other shop is using the name panchi petha , to which the real owner never objected, which led to serious brand dilution of panchi petha and a large customer base is lost to original owner of the brand because of non-protection of his brand identity.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.