IP Policy and Process Set Up: Why wait for a wake up call!

First Publication Date: 27th December 2010.

Intellectual Property Policy and Process set up is one branch of IP that has long been neglected by a majority of Indian companies especially the SMEs. Most Indian companies come to realize the importance of an IP Policy when they enter into negotiations/business deals/technology transfers with foreign companies or multinationals where the IP hygiene is relatively high. Such a wake-up call comes especially when Indian companies deal with companies from countries where the Intellectual Property laws are very well developed such as Europe, US, Japan, Korea and the like. Companies from these countries do not agree to take the business negotiations or technology transfer deals forward unless the Indian Company has a strong IP Policy and Process. For example company ‘X’ from India wants to enter into a technology licensing agreement with a company ‘Y’ from France. The French company will not be interested in licensing the technology if company X does not have a strong IP policy as the lack of the same gives rise to a fear that company ‘Y’ may lose the IP on its technology. In such a situation company ‘Y’ asks company ‘X’ to develop an IP policy that suits the kind of technology being licensed. If it is software then the IP policy will especially be drafted from the point of view of protection of the software code, its User Interface etc. On the other hand, if the technology being licensed is in the form of documents or drawings then the IP policy will have to be designed accordingly.
The process of IP policy drafting involves understanding the business of the company, talking to key people in the company, visiting the sites where the Intellectual property is located or will be carried to, drafting an IP policy to suit the kind of technology being transferred and the kind of business that the company engages in. To give an example of the kind of problems that arise if the policy is not drafted properly, consider the following illustration-
Company ‘A’ (leading Swiss watch company) has to license out certain drawings to Company ‘B’ (Indian company) for the purposes of manufacturing a component of their famous watches. These drawings are confidential information of Company ‘A’ and should not fall into the hands of competitors (assuming that it will be extremely difficult for the competitors to reverse engineer the watches to know about this component). Company ‘B’ takes the necessary steps to protect these drawings inside the company but doesn’t include any steps to protect the final components when they are transported back to Company ‘A’. Final result, Company ‘B’ does not get the contract as the components being transported also become confidential as they represent confidential drawings. Therefore, drafting an IP Policy involves an in-depth understanding of the Intellectual Property and other laws of not only India but the international IP regime as well. It is quintessential to seek professional help and guidance in drafting these policies from professionals who have ample knowledge and experience of this field as insertion of one improper clause or omission of an important clause from the policy may cost the company a huge business deal. To know more about the Intellectual Property services offered by BananaIP (Earlier known as Brain League) visit bananaip.com

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