Protecting the technology developed during inception stage of a startup is very important. Utilization of technology depends on the knowledge of intellectual property. The entrepreneur should identify the possible patentable technology among whatever they developed and try to protect it for economic reasons. There are two important aspects here. One is identification of potential patentable solutions and protecting the registered patents. For this the technology entrepreneurs should have the awareness/knowledge of science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. As the economy transitioned from:
Industrial Economy ==> Service Economy ==> Knowledge Economy
New knowledge is being built. The key to knowledge economy development is the minimal infrastructure required, that is, electricity and internet. This conference insight describes the aspects of Ideas with Economic Value, Intellectual Property Strategies, Patentable Inventions, Trademarks, Cost Aspects, Key Skills for Organizational Success and Challenges.
Ideas with Economic Value: Innovation plays major role in knowledge based economic development. A country’s economic development and industrial productivity depends on the Intellectual Property (IP) they develop. IP and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) are interconnected. Entrepreneur should be able to balance between inventor’s interest and public interest. Mare developing IP and technology is not sufficient; the society should be using it; then only economic development can be achieved. Intellectual Property such as designs, drawings, publications, films, multi-media works are creations of mind. The systems provided IP rights are incentive to inventers and users across the world. Best idea has got inherent economic value. The major driving forces behind Entrepreneurship are idea, invention, innovation, and Technology.
Idea ==> Invention ==> Innovation ==> Technology
IP Strategies: As an entrepreneur, one should have the well-defined strategies to protect what they have developed. The strategies should consist of verifying whether such technology is already available in the market, what is the demand for that technology in the market, understand how the IP developed can generate economic value, and continuous monitoring and evaluation. The technologies developed by start-ups should be cost sensitive, make differentiation with respect to product features, quality, material, price etc. Innovation can reduce the cost of products. Some start-ups become successful by licensing the patents they have developed; instead of developing product based on patent and marketing on their own. Different forms of Intellectual Property include patents, trademarks, designs, copyrights, trade secrets, and geographical innovations.
Patentable Inventions: With respect to start-up, an invention should be a patentable invention. It should have the novelty of idea, industrial applications, and non-obviousness for getting it registered.
“Patent Comes through Invention; and Invention is protected by Patent”
Inventions can lead to new product or process. Patent rights vary from country to country. As an inventor, one should be aware of the other technologies already available in the market specific to his/organizational domain; by going through significant number of patents, one should be able to judge whether the invention is a patentable invention or not. Inventor should justify what is the need of the technology, how is it better than what is already available, and what unique solution it provides. As the inventor makes the invention, he should immediately go for the registering for intellectual property; instead of waiting for the revenues to be generated. This is very much applicable to start-up ventures. For example, in case of semi-conductors and integrated circuits, design can be patented. What is important here is the uniqueness of design; for example, there are hundreds of patents on toothbrushes across the world.
Trademarks: Organizational brand building can be done through impressive trademarks. Trademarks can be of different types such as colour trademarks, sound marks, packaging trademarks, holograms, and shape of goods. Trademarks should be fanciful and distinctive from other marks.
Patents, trademarks, and copyrights put together generate brand and economic value for the organization. Example trademarks, such as BMW and Apple, have got the extensive market value. These can be useful in valuation of the company.
Cost Aspects: In current days, it is the R&D (Research and Development) costs which are dominating; rather than the material costs in product/technology development. For example, in integrated circuit design, silicon cost is minimal to compare with R&D costs.
Key Skills for Organizational Success: Business organizations are to adopt to new technologies, as the technologies are changing every two years. For example, automobile industry is keep changing. Retail sector in India is becoming more organized. Organizations are looking to create more value in turn make revenues. Interdependence, co-operations, trust, relationships, and diversity are playing major role in developing world class products. Organizations need to focus on what they are passionate about, envision future, with more value and purpose. There is a shift from economic efficiency to economic resilience. Organizations redirecting resources to where there is more need and high demand locations. Organizations are creating value driven customer experience online also. Building skills, ability to think, learn continuously, handle change and handle challenges are key to organizational success.
Challenges: The challenges related to the intellectual property developed by the start-ups include the required capital expenditure and the users’ usage of the technology. Technology has got pros and cons such as it can lead to culture change or it can help in cultural development.
Despite having economic and commercial value, the technology has to be developed and used judiciously by keeping the human value development and overall human development index in mind.
Hope I was able to convey, whatever I understood.
Dr.Goparaju Purna Sudhakar,
(References: 1. Bhattacharya, N.S. (2020), Webinar on “Identification and Protection of Early Stage Technology”, Hyderabad, December 11, 2020
2. Parvatiyar, A. (2020), Webinar on “Marketing in an era of disruptions – the post pandemic challenges”, Birla Global University, December 11, 2020)