Thursday 17 January 2013

FDP Programme for Faculty Inventors

FDP Programme for Faculty Inventors
Shanas Fathima, IP Attorney

On 10th January, 2013, IP Dome presented the IP SMART innovator workshop at the National Level faculty development programme (FDP) – winter school on Innovation, Research and IPR.The seminar was conducted at the S.A.Engineering College, Veeraraghavapuram, Chennai. Sixty faculty members from the host college and surrounding colleges participated in the workshop including research directors of two institutions. The workshop consisted of a strategy workshop and a technical workshop. 

The strategy workshop conducted by Swapna Sundar, CEO, IP DOME, emphasised the importance of planned research and strategic innovation for faculty members. In the light of the AICTE guidelines outlining the process of accreditation, where colleges would be graded on their ability to generate patents and IP, and the research projects of their faculty, planned research leading to protectable IP becomes imperative. 

Unplanned and serendipitous inventions are few and far-between. Colleges and faculty members cannot rely on serendipitous occurrences but must work in a focussed manner and ensure that their research leads to patents. Swapna outlined a smart process based on case-studies of successful innovator companies such as IBM, Pfizer and Honeywell, whereby research design and technology trend analysis can lead to strong patentable outcomes. She also emphasised the importance of maintaining inventors logs and having well-designed IP disclosure measures to enable the college to capture all innovative ideas and harness the IP potential of their faculty and research scholars.

Hariprasad took the podium to make a well-researched presentation to demonstrate that technical analysis of patents in the field of interest can lead to patentable inventions with high potential for industrial use. Using live examples on freely available databases, he pointed out that the process of planned research is integrated with the process of prior-art study. A well-defined and clearly articulated set of keywords, combined with a good understanding of the field of interest and a nuanced creative instinct could lead to a patentable invention with minimal wastage of resources and effort.

The seminar was greatly appreciated by the audience who also engaged in a long interactive session with the resource persons.

Custom Focus and Customer Centricity in Consultancy and Support

Custom Focus and Customer Centricity in Consultancy and Support

Swapna Sundar, CEO, IP Dome

 Our team began the New Year with the resolution to become more customer focussed and customer-centric.

We defined customer focus as understanding and connecting to the client and becoming an integral part of the growth process of his company. Customer-centricity was defined as understanding the requirements of the project currently at hand, its potential to improve the sustainable competitive advantage of the company, and the urgency or speed at which a designated professional service must be provided in order to add the greatest value to the project.

Mr.Sadasivan, of T.T.Srinath consultants provided us with the preliminary input towards the customer focus. In a four-hour long interactive session with our team, Sadasivan took us through lectures, critical inputs and role-plays into the mind of our client. We explored the challenges and goals of the independent inventor, the innovator, the inventor-entrepreneur and the start-up entrepreneur with an innovative product. Sadasivan through his inimitable style created an opportunity for us to understand our client’s enthusiasm for and faith in his product and idea, and how we could tap into his/her creative powers to provide the best IP solutions. 

The final role-play session helped us to view from the client’s side the financial challenges of seeking IP protection versus the risks in not protecting a novel idea. The follow-up session is scheduled for the third week of February.

Launch of Centre for IPR & Legal Cell at S.A. Engineering College, Chennai


Launch of Centre for IPR & Legal Cell at S.A. Engineering College, Chennai

-Jagathis, IP Dome

 On the 10th of January, 2013, IP Dome – IP Strategy Advisors signed an MOU with S.A.Engineering College to set up the Centre for IPR and Legal Cell at the College premises at Veeraraghavapuram, Chennai. A large space has been designated for use of the cell within the sprawling campus of the college, where students interns of the Department of Management Studies (DOMS) trained at IP Dome, will offer basic consultation services under the supervision of two members of the faculty to MSME units and entrepreneurs in and around the Industrial Estates at Ambattur, Avadi and Thirumazhisai. Students are also being trained to promote the IP cell in the target regions so that more MSME units may benefit from the venture. The legal cell will specialise in legal issues faced by MSME units including labour issues and employee contracts, management of hazardous chemicals and pollution control, compliance with industry standards, rent and lease agreements, vendor agreements and licensing.

From its inception, IP Dome has worked with MSME units in different capacities to improve access of IPR services to the sector and to promote awareness regarding the use of IPR and benefits accruing from it to the unit. IP Dome has provided training sessions in collaboration with MSME- Development Institute, Chennai, CII, TN Council for Development of Women, Indian Bank (Dr.Alagappa Road and Avadi Branches), Soroptimist International of Chennai and VIT-TBI which have been accessed by various groups including independent inventors, MSME units and Self-help Groups.

In January, 2012, IP Dome provided a Management Development Programme on IP at S.A. Engineering College which was greatly appreciated by the delegates and the management of the College. Subsequently, Dr. Vijay, Head of the Department, DOMS, and the dynamic and forward-looking management of the College, led by the Principal, Dr.Suyambazhagan, joined our vision for creating a Centre for IPR and Legal Cell at the college premises to provide professional and prompt IP and legal services to the MSME units in the proximate industrial estates. Hariprasad, Manager IP Services at IP Dome, was instrumental in the process.

The industrial estates of Ambattur, Avadi and Thirumazhisai are under-served in the area of professional IP and legal services. This deficiency is sought to be fulfilled by providing professional services at the easily accessible college premises. The Centre will also be undertaking awareness activities in the form of seminars, conferences, consultation meetings and entrepreneur talks to encourage the use of IP to protect innovations. We hope that the Centre will play a large part in strengthening the MSME sectors served by the Centre. 

MSME: the growth engine of the country

There are over 2.6 million[i] productive SME industrial units, amounting to about 95% of the total number of manufacturing units across India and claiming about 40% share of the total exports. MSMEs contribution to India's GDP is 10 % and over 40% of the industrial output in India comes from the MSME sector thereby forming a strong backbone of the fast growing developing economy. [ii]MSMEs are the second largest employment generator in India, providing 45% of the jobs, after agriculture, averaging about one million jobs annually at a low capital cost.About 60% of the IT companies in India registered with Technology Parks are MSMEs and MSMEs have been recognized as engine of growth.[iii]

In India, the following chart indicates the threshold investment levels for the MSME sector:\

Engaged in Manufacturing / Preservation of Goods (incl. Processing Units)
Engaged In Providing/ Rendering of Services
Micro Enterprise
Not to Exceed Rs. 25 Lakhs.
Not to Exceed Rs. 10 Lakhs.
Small Enterprise
More than Rs.25 lakhs but does not exceed Rs. 5 Crores.
More than Rs.10 lakhs but does not exceed Rs. 2 Crores.
Medium Enterprise
More than Rs.5 Crore Rupees but does not exceed Rs. 10 Crore.
More than Rs. 2 Crore Rupees but does not exceed Rs. 5 Crore.

A strongly performing indigenously controlled and innovative MSME sector will go a long way to improving regional growth prospects, and hence play a role in increasing the GDP per capita growth in India.Encouraging innovative activity has been at the forefront of the network of initiatives currently underway in India, which includes the National Manufacturing Competency Programme (NMCP) 2005.

While the earlier initiatives of the government are often instituted without a clear appreciation of the nature of innovation and how innovative activities link to innovative outputs and then feed through to improved business performance, the schemes under the NMCP are clearly defined initiatives to create a public-private partnership in the mission to enhance the innovative and business building capacity of the MSME sector. The National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) has finalized a five-year National Manufacturing Programme. Ten schemes have been drawn up including schemes for promotion of ICT, mini tool room, design clinics and marketing support for SMEs. Implementation will be in the PPP model, and financing will be tied up during the course of the next year

While awareness of IP and the benefits to be derived from IP are spreading slowly in the sector, the full potential of the MSME sector can only be exploited when the sector begins to view innovation not only in terms of new product or process development but more generally as good sustainable practice. Knowledge management, interpretation, identification and application of knowledge effectively and appropriately throughout the MSME unit would become the driver of growth in the MSME sector. The Centre for IPR aims to develop strategies, techniques and practices deployed to facilitate the development and appropriation of ideas for innovation. The protection of innovations and trademarks as Intellectual Property through a process of registration, monitoring and protection in the market, lends a competitive advantage to the product and also leads to a strong market position. This will also enable MSME sector, in the long run, to face the present challenges of liberalisation. The initiative will provide MSME sector more information, orientation and facilities for protecting their intellectual property and also help the sector to access schemes and provisions of the Central and State governments to ease the financial strain of protecting IP. Effective utilisation of IPR tools by MSMEs would also assist them in technology up-gradation and enhancing competitiveness.

[i]Rawat, “Indian SMEs have huge listing potential”, Business Standard, August 29, 2011
[iii]Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, ShriVirbhadra Singhat a Seminar ‘Building A Competitive MSME Segment: Problems and Prospects’ organized by the PHD Chamber in April, 2011