Trademark | Copyright | Patent | Design
As a business owner, if you have a unique idea i.e. likely going to be translated into a product or service or an algorithm, it is very important to think about the intellectual property right for this particular thing right from the beginning. Because intellectual property right (IPR) is something that gets less attention and is neglected which leads to big problems in the business in the future so it is going to be very important for us to understand the critical aspects of the intellectual property rights from some of our subject matter experts.
In the process of starting your business, if you’re going to be creating anything, whether it’s creating anything which is in literary or something in writing or it’s an artistic work or it’s music or even your brand or even designs, all of these things are intellectual property and capable of protection and more importantly monetization for you going forward.
There are a few aspects of IPRs which you must look at for registering your creation:
This is something you can do for protecting your brand/logo. This helps you in differentiating your products/services from other players in the market.
REGISTRATION PROCESS of Trademark:
Registration of a trademark can be done by two ways offline or online. Offline registration of the trademark can be done at one of the offices of the trademark register based on the jurisdiction. While online registration is called E-filing of a trademark.
E-filing of a trademark application is a new service provided by the trademark office. E-filing is beneficial and more useful than offline registration as it provides trademark application number immediately. It also provides online verification to assure error-free filing and obtain your filing date. It also speeds up the process. All the details can be saved in your PC and can see online history or track status of the applications filed by clicking “Status of filed application”.
The trademark registration application will be allotted to a Trademark Officer in the Trademark Registrar Office. The Trademark Officer would then review the trademark application for correctness and issue a trademark examination report. The Trademark Officer has the ability to accept the trademark registration application and allow for trademark journal publication or object the trademark registration application.
Duration of Trademark:
Trademark can be registered for a duration of 10 years. It can be renewed for a further period of 10 years on payment of the renewal fees. The trademark can be renewed by filling the form TM-R with transaction costs.
Documents required and Fee for Trademark:
A soft copy of the logo in JPEG format is required for the registration.
• Name and address of the proprietor of the mark or Name of all the partners if its a partnership firm. or also attached partnership firm deed.
- For Private Limited Company – COI and Name and address of Authorized signatures
• In case company if you submit MSME certificate the fees will be reduced. You have to pay only Rs.4500/ instead of Rs.9,000/-
• In case of sole-proprietary firm fees will be Rs.4500/- or in case of Company Rs.9,000/-
Types Of Trademark available:
- Names According to Section 9 or 11 of Trade Marks Act it should not be similar to with an earlier trademark.
- The Combination of Colours or even a single color in combination with a word or device according to Section 10.
- Letters, numerals or combination of both.
- Sounds Mark
It is a legal right which is given to the creator of the product for a fixed time period.
Through this the author enjoys the exclusive privilege to publish, broadcast, adapt, make derivative works, showcase and monetize the same. It could either be a literary work, a dramatic work, music or artistic work.
How to get Copyright for a website?
A website may contain a number of elements that are literary or artistic in nature. For example, words, graphics, videos, software and photos etc. As per the Copyright Office, you will have to file copyright registration request for each of these elements separately.
Duration/Term of Copyright
In the case of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, the duration of copyright is the lifetime of the author or artist, and 60 years counted from the year following the death of the author.
In the case of cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publications, works of government and works of international organizations are protected for a period of 60 years which is counted from the year following the date of publication.
Application Procedure of Copyright
Any individual who is an author or rights owner or assignee or legal heir can file an application for copyright of a work either by the e-filing facility or by speed post. However, with effect from August 01, 2014, the Copyright Counter for filing copyright applications has been closed in order to popularise the electronic filing. Online Filing Process:
Step 1- Applicant need to create a User ID at http://copyright.gov.in/UserRegistration/frmNewUser.aspx by filling basic details.
Step 2- After successful registration, browse http://copyright.gov.in/UserRegistration/frmLoginPage.aspx and Log In with credentials.
Step 3- Once you are Logged In, click on “e-Filing of Application” in the left menu.
Step 4- Click on the link “Click here for online Copyright Registration”
Stage 5- The online “Copyright Registration Form” is to be filled-up in four
Offline Filing Process:
a) Application for registration is to be made on Form XIV. Form can be downloaded from here-http://copyright.gov.in/frmformsDownload.aspx
b) Separate applications should be made for registration of each work.
c) Each application should be accompanied by the requisite fee.
d) The applications should be signed by the applicant or the advocate in whose favour a Power of Attorney has been executed. The Power of Attorney should also be enclosed.
e) Answer each and every column of the Statement of Particulars and Statement of Further Particulars specifically.
Send the documents by post to Copyright Division, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, 4th Floor, Jeevan Deep Building, Parliament Street, New Delhi : 110001 Email
Telephone No, – 011-23362436
A mandatory period of 30 days should be passed post obtaining the diary number so that no objection is filed in the Copyright office against your claim that particular work is created by you. If such objection is filed it may take another one month time to decide as to whether the work could be registered by the Registrar of Copyrights after giving an opportunity of hearing to both the parties.
If no objection is filed the application goes for scrutiny from the examiners. If any discrepancy is found the applicant is given 30 days time to remove the same. Therefore, it may take 2 to 3 month’s time for registration of any work in the ordinary course. The applicant himself or his/her leader may appear in the hearing according to S. 27 of the Act. As per section 72 of the Copyright Act, 1957 any person aggrieved by the final decision or order of the Registrar of Copyrights may, within three months from the date of the order or decision, appeal to the Copyright Board. The registration of a copyright thus, may take a period of 1 to 1.5 years.
List of Documents required to be submitted by Post along with application form. Refer to the document list based on Type of Work. Click here for list- Documents Required for Copyright Registration in India.
Fee for copyright:
The Fee can by paid either through Online mode or Postal Order or Demand Draft. List of Documents required to be submitted by Hand/ By Post along with application form.
3. Patent – The focus here is on proving the novelty of your creation. It needs to be a new invention for you to get a patent. Availing patent protection is a bit more complex than getting a trademark or a copyright. Generally, these are given for machines and pharmaceutical products.
4. Design – Registered designs are used to protect the external appearance of any object. These are primarily meant for protecting designs meant for commercial/industrial use. For instance, a Coca-Cola bottle.
IP – Investor’s Perspective
Whenever the company seeks funding from the investor community, IP – how it is managed and protected
– becomes an important criteria for them to decide. It helps investors figure out the long-term growth of the company. They check on a few key aspects like:
- IP ownership rests with the company and not with the founder
- Ensure that there are no arrangements of IP sharing.
- How frequently are the IP rights being reviewed?
- What are the legal implications for changes made to the brand or logo?
IP Registration Process
When it comes to registering your IP, say, for instance, trademark, the first thing which you need to figure out is to decide on its geographic spread – national registration or international registration. Under the Indian national regime of registration of a trademark, you can apply to any of the five registrars located at Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, or Chennai for complete protection across India. The Registrar shall examine the application, post which it shall be published in the Indian Trademarks Journal. If no opposition is raised by any third party within 90 days, the Registrar accepts the trademark application.
Under the international regime, India is a signatory to various treaties, which allow for registration of a trademark in multiple countries with a single application process. Depending on the targeted countries you wish to register your trademark in, you can select any of the various international treaties such as the Madrid Protocol, European Community Trademark, etc.
Conclusion: When you think of any startup business you must have to Understand your intellectual property obligations. these intellectual property obligations build your band and secure your content & design.
In any business legal and statutory clarity is of utmost importance but unfortunately most early stage entrepreneurs do not have the clarity or do not do enough homework in order to make sure that they understand the legal aspects well, because of which at the end of the day the business bears the brunt. and most entrepreneurs realize it too late in the day regarding the various legal pitfalls and at that point of time Often steps are taken too late in the day by which time the legal aspects have already become very complicated so for any business before you start is going to be very important to ask ourselves three fundamental questions
- What kind of Registrations need to be made?
- What kind of permits need to be obtained?
- What kind of compliances need to be followed?
Types of Permits
There are generally two types of permits if you could broadly classify them. One would be the 1. Generic Permit – that go to any form of businesses. These would relate to tax registrations, service tax registrations to enable payments being made, withholding of taxes when payments are being made. Then there would be those which relate to generally 2. Office Setup – When it comes to office set up it could relate to shops and establishment, compliance with your municipal laws, which zones your offices are located at in the relevant areas. Very often people don’t realize that residential premises can’t be used for office purposes. There are municipal laws, there are municipal requirements, so the best way to go about it is not to do research yourself Best way to go about is engage a consultant, it could be a lawyer, it could be a consultant who deals in this area. The other thing is that when you set up your company and you get the registration of your company done, you also need to ask your lawyers that whether there are any 3. Industry Specific Permit or license is require and what I mean is that today for example, if you are in the media business. Let’s say that you have a television channel. You may require a license from ministry of information and broadcasting.
Permits are a legal form of authorization that allows you to do certain activities on the basis of certain permissions taken from the respective regulatory bodies. The purpose is of course to avoid any legal implications in future. The various types of permits and registrations are listed below:
1) Tax Registrations – Applies to almost all forms of business, namely PAN, TAN, etc. Certain other tax registrations apply depending on the nature of business, namely, Central Excise if goods are being manufactured, and Service Tax for activities that qualify as “services” under applicable tax laws, etc.
2) Office Setup Permit – These are permits which are required to commence any business as per certain acts like shops and establishment act, municipal laws, etc.
3) Labour Law Registrations – These apply to the employer for the benefit of its employees namely provident fund registration, gratuity, etc.
4) Industry Specific Permit – These are business specific permits which are required as per the industry. So, permissions are to be taken from respective ministries. For example, if you are operating in the media industry, you must get the license/approvals from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Tax Registration Documents:
It is good to have all the tax registrations in place even before you commence your business. Most startups tend to avoid and delay these activities, leaving it for the time when they start making revenues. This is not advisable, as it is a must to have your house in order, for it to function well, and on an ongoing basis. There are two basics that you need to have:
1. Permanent Account Number (PAN): It is a mandatory requirement for any business to have a PAN number before opening a bank account. PAN is used for paying direct taxes.
2. Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN): This is required when you make any third-party payments, say to the supplier of your goods/service. TAN is used for deducting tax at source.
Compliance is one of the key building blocks to a successful business. What compliance really does is it builds a process and in any organization structure whether internally or whether you are looking at it externally, compliance sets the discipline, it sets a certain motion to the organization.
Ineffective compliance creates a huge business risk for any entrepreneur. Issues with compliance keep getting complex as your business grows. Having processes in place help you avoid legal hurdles; gain investor confidence and improve operations. Not following the same, can lead to a number of setbacks, like loss of management time in correction, monetary penalties and loss of reputation.
For compliance purposes, you need to make certain filings for annual compliance, quarterly compliance and conduct board meetings as per policy. For all these, it is advisable to hire a Company Secretary.
When you seek investments, one of the first things that potential investors will look for is whether the company is legally compliant or not and whether the reported numbers are audited or not, etc.
In the case of the burgeoning e-commerce space, it is becoming important to follow relevant e-business policies. There are certain areas which need to be addressed like:
- Ensuring data privacy
- Following payment gateway rules
You should be able to:
- Understand the different types of permits required for your business
- Think through the required tax registration documents as per the law
- Acknowledge the importance of compliance and follow them
Environment analysis is an important tool that helps in an organisation’s decision-making process and also helps foresee the organisation’s future. Understanding the industry helps you understand your competitive advantage. There are various factors which one needs to look at while analyzing the environment.
Analysing Competitive Environment
You might have an amazing idea, and a great vision, but for it to be a success, the environment must be suitable. It is important for you to know whether the opportunity is a substantial one and for that you would have to analyse the environment. In order to analyse the environment, you need to understand various factors like:
- Demographic factors
- Technological factors
- Social-cultural factors
- Economic factors
- Political-legal factors
Understanding Industry (Porter’s 5 Forces Model)
An Industry consists of groups of sellers, suppliers, competition, and substitutes. To be able to assess the attractiveness of an industry you are in or trying to be in, it is ideal to use the Porter’s five forces framework. It is very important to get a good understanding of whether the industry you are targeting is attractive or not.
Porter’s five forces is a competitive analysis model; it helps you to understand the nature of competition within your industry, and hence it is used to analyse the industry you operate in. It provides a good, simple yet powerful, framework for developing an understanding of the competitive forces in your industry.
The five forces that must be analysed in-depth are:
- Threat of entry: Ease with which new competitors can enter the business
- Buyer power: Strength of the buyers to command tough terms for the industry
- Supplier power: Strength of the suppliers to squeeze margins out of the industry
- Threat of substitutes: Ease at which an alternative option can substitute your product
- Competitive rivalry: Extent to which firms within an industry put pressure on one another
Competitive Advantage to Startup
After understanding Porter’s five forces you learned about the various factors that help you build sustainable competitive advantage which are:
- Proprietary elements
- Superior organizational processes
- Business model differentiation
- Business with network effects
You should be able to:
At the end of this session, you should be able to:
1. Analyse the environment with respect to the following factors:
- Demographic factors
- Technological factors
- Social-cultural factors
- Economic factors
- Political-legal factors
2. Analyze the attractiveness of the industry by conducting Porter’s five forces analysis for the purpose of understanding:
- Threat of entry
- Buyer power
- Supplier power
- Threat of substitutes
- Competitive rivalry
Credit: Tapas Ranjan Roy
- Published in Startup Master Class
Understanding the target segment for your Startup;
Understanding the target segment is important for succeeding. One of the key things entrepreneurs should keep in mind, as they start up, is to stay focused. It is best to choose a smaller segment of customers within the overall market and serve that one segment really well. Before you start your startup, defining the one customer that your Startup is going to serve is very important. Your understanding of that one customer will help you plan your product and marketing correctly. While considering the target customer for your own Startup, below are the things to consider:
- Market segmentation is a marketing strategy which involves dividing a broad target market. Market segmentation can be based on:
- Geographic factors (region, city, rural)
- Demographic factors (age, family size, gender, income, occupation, education)
- Behavioral factors (benefits, attitude)
- Is there a target segment where you can offer the customer clear and fascinating benefits at a price they are willing to pay?
- Are these benefits, in the customer’s minds, different from and superior in some way to what is currently being offered by other solutions?
- How large is this segment and how fast is it growing?
- Is it likely that your entry into this segment will provide you with the platform to enter other segments you may wish to target in the future?
Sizing the Market / Target Market:
Once you have understood how to identify your target market. You need to understand how large is the market that you targeting? There are two broad approaches to size your market:
- Top-down approach: Here you understand and calculate basis the broad market, number of people, who consume, how much etc, to arrive at the total market sales
- Bottom-up approach: Here you understand and calculate basis the sales of a single entity or a business that is a part of the market, to arrive at the total market sales
While estimating the size of your market, you must make sure the data points come from valid, vetted or credible reports.
- Identify and assess your target segment
- Assess the attractiveness of your market by sizing the market using a top-down or bottom-up approach.
Build a consumer product:
When we were looking at market sizing one of the initial things was, we are going to build a consumer product but who do we build it for? And who we chose to build it for is the working couple. And basically, our thesis was that if we can make this product work for a working couple then we will eventually over time use cases for how different people want to use it. So we wanted to make a product where you think about a working couple, they basically are probably in the office from 8am to 5pm or 6pm everyday they have a one hour commute or a thirty minute commute. The sheer hassle is that during the week, going and making a trip to the market is something that is not very pleasant and they would rather spend their time doing something else and we came at the problem from that side. That let’s build a product that a working couple will actually be able to use for pretty much anything that they need in their house and if it works for them then we will figure out how it plays out for the other people.
Startup Story to Understand Identifying Target Segment & Market Sizing
Indigo Airlines – now this airline focuses on middle-class Indian households who are price sensitive and value on-time performance. Imagine if Indigo airline which is a low-cost no-frills carrier, started promoting luxury full-service flights to its target segment – would you say that it has lost its way.
Another example is of a startup iim jobs, every job they post is a premium job and their target audience are aspirational jobseekers from the best schools and colleges in the country. Hence they avoid posting jobs which would be base level – entry level roles that their target audience would find irrelevant.
For identify the target market Segment, need to ask two questions.
- Who are the potential customers who face the problem that you are trying to solve? (The problem you stated in the last segment)
- You learnt about the importance of staying focused and choosing a niche target segment. Is there a target segment where you can offer the customer clear and compelling benefits at a price they are willing to pay?
- Write point-wise definition of your Target Segments, and value propositions for each of them.
- Published in Startup Master Class
Mapping Need-Gap to Idea
The primary challenge for an entrepreneur is often ensuring that he/she has a viable business idea, which is largely dependent on the ability to identify a gap in the market that presents itself as an opportunity.
How to get a startup idea
The first step for an entrepreneur, before starting a new company, is finding the right idea for the startup. The best way to get good startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas – that would be the wrong way to start. The best way is to look for problems, preferably problems you have faced yourself. However, it does not necessarily have to be a problem you have experienced personally. It could be something you have seen other people, your friends or family, face regularly.
Why is it better to work on such problems? Among other things, it ensures the problem really exists. It sounds obvious to say that you should only work on problems that exist. And yet, by far the most common mistake startups make is to solve for problems no one has. You should aim at solving a problem that you’re sure exists, and attempt to solve the problem, or attempt to recreate an experience that betters what an individual or a business would be going through today.
After identifying a problem or need-gap, as an entrepreneur, it is important to assess your venture idea. To do so, you should aim to get answers to the following questions:
1. Technical & Market Feasibility (Does the need exist?)
- What pain point are you solving for?
- Who are you solving this problem for?
- How are you going to solve the problem?
- Is anyone else doing it? How are customers currently solving for their problems?
- Can you do it differently from them?
2. Financial Feasibility (Can you monetise the idea?)
- Would your customers pay for your solution to the particular problem?
- How big is the market? How many customers would potentially pay for your solution?
- Clearly express your venture idea based on the pain points/experiences you have, or someone that you know has faced.
- Conduct a technical and market feasibility of your venture idea and define the following:
- Pain point you are solving for
- The customer you are targeting
- The solution you have arrived at
- Competition and current alternative for customers
- Sources of differentiation against your competitors
- Conduct financial feasibility of your venture idea by assessing:
- Ability to monetise the idea
- Depth of the market
Startup Story for identifying and Assessing the Idea:
The founder of Saavn was a music lover and grew up listening to Indian music. He saw that in western countries a lot of content especially music was going digital. But then, he noticed that in a country of a Billion people, where people are music fanatics, music was not digital. And he decided to act upon this pain point and took South Asian content digital on their online platform to fill this gap in the market. The pain points we face in our daily lives, whether at work, at home, or in certain situations and under specific conditions, are often the best source of Need-Gap identification for new venture ideas. A Need-Gap is most of the times driven by these very simple pain-points. Let’s hear from Phanindra Sama of redBus and Girish of Freshdesk to get an understanding of this.
Assessing the Idea you have to ask some of these questions.
- What pain points or problems are you trying to solve with your venture idea?
- What experience or observation led you to this idea? Did you face the experience personally?
- Write down your idea to address these problems in the most concise yet effective way. E.g. redBus = Provides information about bus ticket options and allows seamless booking of tickets on its platform.
- List down the assumptions that you are making about the problems, target group facing these problems, and your solutions. (Example: In case of redbus, one of the assumptions was that bus operators would accept and adapt to online bus ticketing)
- Published in Startup Master Class