INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFTEN GOES UNDISCUSSED BY FOUNDERS EARLY ON BECAUSE ITS VALUE IS NOT IMMEDIATELY NOTICEABLE. ENTREPRENEURS, IN FACT, OFTEN QUESTION WHY THEY NEED TO REGISTER A TRADEMARK AT ALL. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, OR IP, IS, HOWEVER, HUGELY VALUABLE IN THE LONG RUN AND KNOWING WHAT ITS USES ARE WILL HELP YOU DECIDE WHEN YOU NEED A TRADEMARK OR COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION BEFORE YOU FIND YOURSELF FIGHTING ANOTHER ENTITY FOR INFRINGEMENT. SO HERE’S A DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE THREE TYPES OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.
What it’s For A trademark is anything your customers identify your brand by, whether a word, logo, sound, graphic or even a colour combination. While registration is not necessary, it gives you the right to prevent similar names from being registered by other businesses, allows you to earn royalties on it through assignment agreements and is an asset any investor would be interested in knowing you have. The scope of Protection: Your trademark can be protected under 45 classes (i.e. sectors). So if you protect your trademark under the class for footwear, a chemicals brand may still register a trademark that clashes with yours. When You Need It: You need to register your trademark the moment your brand gains traction, as it ensures that you are the sole owner of the brand. If you don’t do so at this time, allowing some other entity to do so, you risk having to change your brand name altogether, which may have an impact on retaining your original customers. The length of Protection: Your trademark is valid indefinitely. However, you need to renew the application every 10 years. The cost of Registration: Government fees for each trademark application are Rs. 4,000, per class.
What it’s For Copyright applies to literary (books, scripts, even software) and audio-visual (music, photographs, movies) works. Registration is not necessary. However, as copyright infringement has become commonplace in the Internet age, and you need a registration to take the matter to court, copyright registration has gained importance. The scope of Protection: Copyright is owned by the creator of the work. The owner has a right to stop the publication of any work that shares similarities with his/her work unless it has been fairly used. When You Need It: You need copyright registration only if you anticipate infringement. This would be the case for authors of books or training material, photographers, and many other creative professionals. The length of Protection: Copyrights are valid for the length of the author’s life and the next 60 years. The cost of Registration: Registration fees vary based on the work in question. For example, it costs Rs. 3350 to register software code, but Rs. 8420 for movies. Find the price list here.
What it’s For A patent is primarily for gaining a competitive advantage over rivals. This is because once granted, it gives you the right to exclude others from making, using, selling or importing what you’ve invented. When You Need It: A patentable invention can be any art, process, method or manner of manufacture; the machine, apparatus or other articles; substances produced by manufacturing; computer software with technical application to industry or used with hardware; and product patent for food, chemicals, medicines and drugs. The length of Protection: It is valid for 20 years, after which it falls into the public domain. The cost of Grant: A patent grant will set you back around Rs. 10,000 in government fees, but you’ll also need a patent lawyer, who will charge you around Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000.