Monday, 13 February 2012



-Swapna Sundar

Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes.

The importance of engineering and modern human history cannot be discounted. From James Watt’s steam engine, the ancient printing presses of the Chinese, to the most ingenious inventions of the 20th century such as electricity, auto mobiles, bridges, air travel and architectural ingenuity are all the result of engineering innovation. Patterns in engineering may relate to simple devices such as hammers, dental floss dispensing devices, and moulded plastic containers to more complex inventions such as turbocharger devices, medical devices, torque converters, vehicle lighting and mirrors, satellite deployment mechanisms, engine air flow management procedures and processes etc.

In addition to protecting the mechanical article itself, patterns can be filed and prosecuted for methods of manufacture of the devices as well as methods of using an controlling the mechanical devices,  in certain jurisdictions. Further, all manufacturing processes, for example, metal working and treatment, printing, textile manufacturing, etc. are regarded under mechanical patents.

The future of mechanical means, like those of business methods of those relating to the Internet and e-commerce, is uniformly bright in various sectors including automotive, robotics, printing technology, textiles and manufacturing.

Are patent expensive?

Most SMEs in the manufacturing sector consider that the inexpensive and difficult task. Embarking on a road to innovation and patenting could in certain cases lead the company to spend vast sums of money on research and development, patent office fees, attorneys professional fees, renewal fees and then spend virtually endless amounts of money litigating with infringers, but there are other alternatives.

The way to limit IP costs is to be very judicious with a protection mechanism that you intend to use. Some ideas are:
   Protect trade secrets: if disclosure has the effect of educating a competitor and how the invention is to be built or used, it is better not to disclose the invention. Secondly, if it is impossible to detect infringement, the invention or idea is properly not appropriate for patenting. Trade secrets must be protected with clear policies of disclosure on a need-to-know basis within and outside the company.

2.       Protect the ideas with the highest priority: it is not necessary to protect every detectable idea. Often only one or two key ideas would have to be infringed by the competitor in order to copy the bulk of the product. Even if there are many patentable innovations in the product, it may be important to identify those with the highest priority and protect them.

3.       Reducing the preparation cost: do as much research as possible into the prior art, including Internet searches, patent searches, and research competitor’s products. Define the differences between the invention and the prior art. Define the exact features that need to be covered from a competitive standpoint as well as a functional standpoint. This definition will be further refined by the patent professional during the patent preparation and prosecution stages.

4.       Have a business plan: prosecute only those parties which have strategic importance for your company, and will help you to overcome competition. If the patent or idea that you have is not crucial to the core business of your company, look for licensing opportunities.

5.       Find a firm that suits your needs: the biggest falls may not have time for smaller clients or price their services very high. It also not give priority to small companies or individual inventors. For budgeting and management purposes, consider hiring a firm that gives fixed fee quotes as opposed to paying by the hour. The former method encourages the firm to be efficient and constrains the costs, while the second method is often abused at the expense of the client.

Also preparing and filing your own patent and prosecuting it in-house may be less expensive initially, it may prove costly as there are considerable risks involved in filing and prosecuting applications without a trained professional. This is a decision you would have to make based on your understanding of the in-house skills and competences required prosecuting your patent.

6.       Follow the process: the longer it takes for the preparation and filing of your patent, the longer it will take to launch a product on the market. There would be delays such as in identifying specific threats from the competition and analysing prior art, however once these crucial steps are done it is essential to keep the timeline prescribed by your attorney. It may help to decide in advance who the applicant of the patent is in India, it is possible for the promoter of a company to file the patent and subsequently license it to the company. However in the US, it is essential for the inventor to be the applicant.

7.       Monitoring of the patent: this includes delays in prosecution, other steps such as filing of patents under the patent cooperation Treaty or Paris Convention treaty, and staying up-to-date on the timelines. Failure to keep to the timelines may prove fatal to the prosecution and in many cases. One example is, the Indian patent office requires the filing of a request for examination within four years of the filing of the application. Failure to file a request for examination within four years would result in the application being treated as abandoned by the patent office.

8.       Enforcement of the patent: the first of an endorsement of the patent is vigilance. The cost of enforcing a patent is very high whether in India or in any other country. It is essential for any pattern to be aware that if this product is going to succeed in the market you will be competition. One way to avoid the disastrous consequences of cheap counterfeit products in the market is to build a brand that is recognisable and trusted by the consumers. A constant innovation model may also help in keeping the patent is invention ahead of the competition in the market.
      Getting a strong mechanical patent
A strong mechanical patent is one that solves a crucial problem for the consumer and a significantly different from all other solutions provided in the prior art. Primary in the attempt to get a strong mechanical patent is keeping ahead of the technology, and keeping abreast of the evolving technology trend in academia and industry.

Many small companies in India are tying up with governmental and private universities, research establishments and incubation centres in order to acquire new technologies "hot off the oven". Technology from universities and integration centres with the cheaper to acquire than licensing the same technology from industry. However, they may require industrial level scaling up, or further development which will be an expensive proposition small company. The government offers several grants, soft loans and integration opportunities to translate academic technology development into industrial inventions.

The MSME ministry, the Department of biotechnology, the Department of industry and science and the various directorates at state level can help with these initiatives.

Copyright Swapna Sundar, 2012



-Team IP Dome

நாம் இன்று உலகில் காணும் எந்தப் பொருளும் முதலில் ஒரு மனிதனின் கற்பனையில் தோன்றி அதன் பின்னரே வெளியில் பொருளாக உருவெடுத்தது. நாம் இவைகளைக் ’கண்டுபிடிப்புகள்’ என்று அழைக்கிறோம். கண்டுபிடிப்புகள் ஒரு பொருளாக (Product) இருக்கலாம், செயல்முறையாக (Process) இருக்கலாம், ஏன் ஒரு கலைப்படைப்பாகக் கூட இருக்கலாம்.  நிறுவனங்களும், தனிமனிதர்களும் தங்கள் நேரத்தையும், சக்தியையும் செலவு செய்து சில புதிய பொருட்களையோ அல்லது செயல் முறைகளையோ கண்டுபிடிக்கின்றனர். இக்கண்டுபிடிப்புகள் மூலம் ஈட்டப்படும் செல்வமும் புகழும் அந்த நிறுவனத்தையோ, மனிதரையோ சென்றடைவதே முறை.  அது அவர்களது உரிமை. இதற்கு அறிவு சொத்துரிமை (Intellectual Property) சட்டம் பாதுகாப்பளிக்கிறது. கண்டுபிடுப்புகளுக்கு கொடுக்கப்படும் காப்புரிமையாகவோ (Patent Right) அல்லது, கலைப்படைப்புகளுக்கு கொடுக்கப்படும் பதிப்புரிமையாகவோ (Copyright) இவை இருக்கலாம். நிறுவனங்களுக்கான வணிக குறீயீட்டுக்கான உரிமையும் (Trade Mark) இவற்றில் ஒன்று.

வளர்ந்து வரும் தொழில் நுட்பமும், பெருகி வரும் நுகர்வோரும் இன்றைய வியாபார உலகில் நிறைய சாத்தியக்கூறுகளை உருவாக்கி வைத்திருக்கின்றன. புதிய கண்டுபிடிப்புகள், நுகர்வோரின் தேவைகளை நியாயமான முறையில் பூர்த்தி செய்யும் என்றால் என்ன விலை கொடுத்தும் வாங்க மக்களும், நிறுவனங்களும் தயாராக இருக்கிறார்கள். புதிய கண்டுபிடிப்புகளுக்கு, செயல்முறைகளுக்கு, உத்திகளுக்கான தேவை பெருகி வருகிறது. இந்தத் தேவைகள் சரியான முறையில் நிறைவேற்றப்பட வேண்டுமானால் அதற்கு இணையாக படைப்பாற்றலும் ஊக்கப்படுத்தப்பட வேண்டும்.

படைப்பாற்றல் (creativity) அல்லது ஆக்கதிறன் என்பது புதிய கருத்துக்களை, அல்லது பொருட்களை ஆக்க கூடிய சிந்தனையையும் அதைச் செயற்படுத்த வல்ல ஆற்றலையும் குறிக்கிறது. காப்புரிமை பெறாதபோது செல்வமும் புகழும் தகுதியற்றவர்களைச் சென்றடைகிறது. போலிகள் பெருக வழி வகுக்கிறது. இது படைப்பாற்றலை, ஆக்கபூர்வமான சிந்தனைப் போக்கை தவறான முறையில் பாதிக்கும்.
தன் படைப்பாற்றலால், சிந்தனை முயற்சியால் உருவான ஒரு பொருள் அல்லது செயல்முறைக்கான பலன் வேறு யாருக்கோ போய்ச் சேருமென்றால் அந்தப் படைப்பாளி அல்லது நிறுவனம் எவ்வாறு தொடர்ந்து படைப்பாற்றலுடன் செயல்பட இயலும்?

சரியான காப்புரிமை இருக்கும் பட்சத்தில் படைப்பாற்றல் ஊக்குவிக்கப்படுகிறது. புதிய ஆய்வுகளுக்கான சாத்தியக்கூறுகள் அதிகரிக்கிறது. எனவே படைப்பாற்றலை ஏதுவாக்குவதில் காப்புரிமை சட்டத்திற்கும் ஒரு முக்கிய பங்குண்டு

Saturday, 11 February 2012



-Team IP Dome

Trademarks are any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof that are used in commerce as brand names, domain names, tag lines, slogans, non-functional or what is known as trade dress- distinctive packaging and labeling designs, etc. to indicate the source of a good (product) or service and distinguish (make distinctive) one good (product) or service from another.

In layman’s language, the trade mark is a visual symbol which may be a word, signature, name, device, label, numerals or combination of colors used by one undertaking on goods or services or other articles of commerce to distinguish it from other similar goods or services originating from a different undertaking.

Trademarks are often confused with the related term ‘Brand’. Simply put, a brand is the idea or image of a specific product or service that consumers connect with, by identifying the name, logo, slogan, or design of the company who owns the idea or image. Branding is when that idea or image is marketed so that it is recognizable by more and more people, and identified with a certain service or product when there are many other companies offering the same service or product.

A trademark is highly significant to a business or organization because the general public identifies the mark with the provider of good and/or services. This means the general public equates the mark with the reputation of the goods and/or services. An enterprise's trademark can frequently be its most valuable asset. A study conducted at Columbia University found that for consumer products and services, well-managed brands typically represent 50 to 80 percent of the entire value of their companies. For business to business products and services, the percentages were lower but still significant – 20 to 30 percent.

The opportunities for expansion, franchising, and e-commerce in today's global economy make brand recognition and brand integrity more important than ever. It is therefore extremely essential for emerging companies and start-ups to take necessary action to insure the integrity of its trademark by registering it.  By protecting a trademark, an enterprise is in effect protecting its reputation while discouraging counterfeiting and imposters. A carefully selected and nurtured trademark is avaluable business asset for most companies. Therefore, the very ownershipof a trademark with a good image and reputationprovides a company with a competitive edge.

 In India, the trade mark laws are governed by Trade Marks Act, 1999 which is in conformity with the TRIPS Agreement to which India is a signatory.  Other sources which affect the trademark law are International Multilateral Convention, National Bilateral Treaty, Regional Treaty, Decision of the Courts, Office practice and rulings, Decision of Intellectual Property Appellate Board. The Trademarks Registry had been functioning since 1.9.1940 for the administration of the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 read with the Trade and Merchandise Rules, 1959 Since September 20, 2003 the Trademarks Act 1999 read with The Trademark Rules 2001 has come in force. Apart from the above, the Trade Marks Registry has other functions like issue of search reports as to whether an identical or deceptively similar trade mark is already registered or filed, preliminary advice regarding distinctiveness of a trade mark, issuing of search certificate for use under the Copyright Act, preparation of search materials, maintenance of Register of Trade Marks.

Before filing a trademark application, it is necessary to identify the classes in which you wish to seek protection for your trademark.An application should be made in the relevant classes of current goods/services as well as in classes where there is intent to use. Various kinds of Goods and services, which are classified according to the International Classification of goods and services, are covered under Nice Classification that provides a list of such goods and services falling in different classes. [Indications of Goods and/or Services] Each registration and any publication effected by an Office which concerns an application or registration and which indicates goods and/or services shall indicate the goods and/or services by their names, grouped according to the classes of the Nice Classification, and each group shall be preceded by the number of the class of that Classification to which that group of goods or services belongs and shall be presented in the order of the classes of the Classification. [Goods or Services in the Same Class or in Different Classes] (a) Goods or services may not be considered as being similar to each other on the ground that, in any registration or publication by the Office, they appear in the same class of the Nice Classification. (b) Goods or services may not be considered as being dissimilar from each other on the ground that, in any registration or publication by the Office, they appear in different classes of the Nice Classification.

The following list gives general information about the goods and services covered in each class by most of the IT companies in general.

Class 9Scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signaling, checking (supervision), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; automatic vending machines and mechanisms for coin-operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment and computers; fire-extinguishing apparatus.

Class 35 Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions.

Class 36Insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs.

Class 38 Telecommunications

Class 41 Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.

Class 42Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software.

Please note that other classes may also be relevant for specific products/services. The above information is provided so as to give a basic strategic understanding of key operational areas of Indian/Global IT industry.