This post was first published on 2nd February, 2011.
Intellectual Property Services is not a business of a few anymore. With the development of the IT and other R&D based business, there are any number of IP Service providers mushrooming around the IT and BP hubs. Therefore, there is a huge number to choose from and a person in need of such services is obviously sceptical about making the choice.
We are currently in the age of information and it is a highly informed world we are living in. No matter what we do, it is highly important for us to learn about it. “Be informed” is the mantra. Here are a few factors that one has to be informed about and consider while choosing an IP service provider.
Structure of the service provider: ‘IP services’ is one area of business that can be done under almost every type of enterprise. IP services are provided by individuals like advocates, partnership firms, LLPs, companies and so on. It is very important to know the structure of the service provider before any work is entrusted. Ultimately it all boils down to accountability. More corporate the structure is, more is the accountability. Since any IP be it Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights or designs, forms the capital asset of any business, entrusting its protection to an entity that is more accountable makes every bit of sense from a business perspective.
Exclusivity and Specialisation: Most of the IP service providers in India, unlike in US and Europe, are law firms with large amount of business in litigation. IP litigation and IP prosecution are two different aspects of IP service and clubbing of both is likely to bring conflict of interest. Therefore it is necessary to look at the service providers who exclusively deal with filing and prosecution related aspect of Intellectual Property. Service Providers with variety of other legal service offerings may not be able to bring in the required expertise unless they have dedicated teams to deal with all of them.
Quality of the team: It is important to know the quality of the team that will handle your IP service needs. Various factors that need to be considered are their qualifications, experience, area of expertise and specialisation. IP service providers with dedicated team to handle various types of IP are more likely to provide quality services and optimise the protection for your IP. Further, the service provider should be able to put you directly in touch with the team that handles your IP service needs.
Confidentiality: Confidentiality is the most important aspect of almost every intellectual property. When you entrust your IP to a service provider, most details you share with them are confidential and crucial for your business. Therefore, it is necessary to find out the steps taken by that entity to maintain secrecy of your information. A good service provider always enters into a confidentiality agreement before any information is shared with them and takes all necessary steps (such as restricted access to work space, documents etc) to maintain confidentiality of information.
Ability to deliver on Time: Time is the essence of all Intellectual Properties. With the rocketing developments in the field of technology, no invention or innovation remains settled for long. Technologies change with the needs. Therefore, it is important to secure an IP as soon as possible, in order to derive most from it. Therefore, one has to look into the ability of the service provider to deliver the services in time without compromising with the quality of the work. Prior work history, clientele, industry experience and expertise of the team are all the factors that may be considered while determining this one.
Post Registration services: Services relating to IP does not end with securing a registration certificate but actually begins with it. Most of the IPs are worked or start yielding benefits only after their registration and therefore post registration services are highly important. Therefore Services like annuity and renewal payment, opposition watch, post grant proceedings and other services are to be considered while choosing an IP service provider.
Cost involved: Cost, though important, finds its place in at the end on this list obviously because a service provider who provides services matching all the above criteria will not be able to do it for a meagre amount. Therefore, the factors to be considered here are from your business point of view such as the market worth of the IP, commercial viability of the the investment etc.
Authored by Sandeep Hegde
To know more about Intellectual Property Services offered by BananaIP Counsels (Earlier known as Brain League) visit bananaip.com
Image from Wikimedia Commons