Brand Its All About IPR

Did you know that the first Patent was filed in the year 1450 in Ancient Greece in the city of Sybaris? The patent was granted in favour of glass making.

Did you know? The first trademark legislation was passed by the Parliament of England under the reign of King Henry III in 1266, which required all bakers to use a distinctive mark for the bread they sold.

Did you know? The Bass Brewery's label incorporating its triangle logo for ale was the first trademark to be registered under the Trademark Registration Act 1875 in United Kingdom.

Every brand is born out of imagination, innovation and special intellectual efforts, in the upcoming era only IPR will rule in the industry, brands will fight for their IP ownership & exclusivity, Mergers and acquisitions will speak about IP acquisitions, major litigations will decide the fate of brands. To make the long story short, IPR will govern industrial growth, role of IP in building brands will be enormous. In today’s competitive world, everyone is seeking to create their unique identity, new & innovative products, sales growth, etc. to expand their market share.

The importance of intellectual property was first recognized in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886). Both treaties are administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Let’s understand what IP is all about Intellectual property (IP) refers to a property created out of creation of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.

Why promote and protect intellectual property?

There are several convincing reasons. First, the progress and well-being of humanity rests on its capacity to create and invent new works in the areas of technology and culture. Second, the legal protection of new creations encourages the commitment of additional resources for further innovation. Third, the promotion and protection of intellectual property spurs economic growth, creates new jobs and industries, and enhances the quality and enjoyment of life.

Intellectual Property mainly divided into two categories:

  1. Industrial Property
  2. Copyrights

Industrial Property comprises of – Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs etc.

Copyrights comprises of – Literary works (such as novels, poems and plays), films, music, artistic works (e.g., drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures) and architectural design. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and broadcasters in their radio and television programs.

Indian government has upheld both the categories of IPR and framed rules according to industrial needs. There are several legislations, under which government has guaranteed exclusive ownership of IP.

Exclusive Ownership – the best feature of IP

Just imagine, you are registering your product name or a product process or design of the product or a product itself and Indian government is securing your rights or upholding your rights in the same for certain time period. Interestingly on the other hand, IP legislations restricting public at large (all people from same country) from even claiming the product name or a product process or design of the product or a product itself in their name. This is the most live and classic feature of IP law, it controls your innovative thought process. If a particular IP is registered then for certain time period nobody can copy your IP and make profit out of it.

The key point in registering IP is to get exclusive rights over that Intellectual Property e.g. 20 Years for Patent, 10 years primary protection and further limitless renewal, 15 years for Industrial Design etc. this is the most attractive provision for industry to take interest in it.

How IPR will help Brands to generate Goodwill – Trademark plays very important role in Brand building –

ü Registering a trademark protects a company's name or logo, which is often a company's most valuable asset;

ü Trademark owner receives exclusive nationwide ownership of the mark;

ü It restricts unauthorized entities to use / Copy and advertises registered logo

ü It promotes the identity of trade name

ü Trademark helps consumer to identify and differentiate between brands and local products

ü Trademark law empowers brand owner to take action against trademark infringers

ü Trademark possess its own value. At the time of merger & acquisition a brand owner can ask IP valuation and sell Trademark separately

Taking into consideration the above we can reach to a conclusion that Trademark creates identity for product and a Brand is nothing but the Trademark!

3 Very important steps for brand building

1.Identify Your Brand

Business houses need to identify their potential, contribution of R&D to come up with innovative ideas, innovative products is a need of the hour. Since post-independence India has never utilized its industrial potential, in today’s time also Indian industry has acted like “producers of products” and not the inventor of the product. It is of utmost priority for the industry to invent our own product, identify the IP area e.g. Patents, Trademarks, Designs and to maintain portfolio of IPR.

2.Recognize And Register Your Brand

To recognize and to register the IP is a major step in terms of brand building, to publish and to take their brand to foreign countries is a dream of every person. Registration of IP is the only way to take a brand to other countries, registration of IP in the country of origin is mandatory to take it to the next level.

3.Protect Your Brand

In my opinion, Brand Protection is the most important step than the other two, because if we don’t protect our existing brands there will be no meaning in creating new ones, recognizing them and protection them. Counterfeit products dent the brand badly, an appropriate IP enforcement action will always results into growth of business and more brand recognition.

Industry needs to understand that Brand Protection is an investment and not a cost!

Indian perspective – Legislative arrangement

In India, the government has taken efforts from time to time to make appropriate legislative arrangements for registration of IP, protection of IP and overall administration of IPR. Every IPR legislation speaks about the registration criterion of IPRs, subject matter of IPRs, registration process of IPR, head offices of IPR sections in India, detailed procedure for registration and renewal of registration if applicable, remedies for infringement, tests for infringement, administrative remedies available under the various acts for brand owners etc. The real problem is not in the legislation. The problem lies in awareness and enforcement. Industry has not shown its interest to understand technicalities involved in IPR; unless and until industry takes any active step the influence of IP Laws will not emerge. Industry should take maximum benefit of provisions made in IP laws to establish their brands, to come up with innovative product line and to promote IP registrations at national level.

Assignment of IPR … the most untouched feature of IPR

You can list your brand for sale or licence..

Most of the industry players are unaware about the provisions made under IP legislations in favour of Sale or a Licence of their IP, in the light of provisions laid down under Patent Act, Trademark Act, Copyrights Act & Designs Act every registered IP owner can assign his / her IPR through a registered agreement. Assignment can take place through two ways: either by Sale or a licence for a limited period. This provision has been inserted to help the brand owners to generate money whenever they want. In an outright sale of IPR, the owner transfers the possession and ownership but in terms of IP licensing, owner of IP transfers only the possession and beneficiary rights embedded in IPR to the transferee (the person in whose favour the transfer has been made). This is the best feature of IP law to use IP for own industrial use as well as to earn or generate revenue through IP licensing.

Good news for Indian industry –

It has been announced by the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) that India may have an Intellectual Property (IP) Exchange, joining the league of countries like Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, where individuals and commercial entities both in India and overseas will be able to buy and sell intellectual property rights across various sectors. The exchange will be developed under the Ministry of Science and Technology through the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC).

After all, effort is the best indicator of interest; in this way based on the efforts by the industry it will help us to understand their interest!!!

Thank You

(Shreedhar)