By: Shrijay Sheth | Co-founder, 09 May 2019, Thursday

How can startups protect their Intellectual Property using their IPR

    It gets too overwhelming a process once you set out to start a new business. It may leave you in doubts, anxiety and a ton of other legitimate issues. One of the major areas that businesses need to stay aware about is Intellectual Property Rights. Once the fundamentals of deciding the right business structure are cleared, IPR helps to differentiate your business from the competitors. IPR yields you the following advantages

  • Can sell or license for creating an additional revenue stream.
  • Offering distinctive products/services to your customers.
  • It can become an essential part of your marketing or branding (Exclusivity).
  • Intellectual properties are assets that you can use as security against loans.

Consider exploiting your IP to the fullest as it makes more sense to secure your business in the best possible manner. You can legally protect your Intellectual property in the following manners:

  • Protecting Intellectual Property against any sort of infringement by others.
  • You can defend it in the court of law to claim your sole right on it.
  • Can legally stop others to use, make, sell or import without your agreement.
  • You can earn royalties by licensing it or make money selling it.
  • Use your trademark for strategic alliances.

Essentially, there are three different ways through which a new business can secure its Intellectual Properties. This could be anything – a thought, an idea, an item, images, process, logos, and so forth that represents a brand.

Here are the types of IPR that businesses can entail:

1. Copyrights

Certain protection is automatically granted to the author for their original, creative or intellectual work. Know more about copyright registration in India to ensure taking correct steps in the right direction.

Works include; Books, lectures, dramatic and musical works, cinematography, drawings, paintings, architecture, sculpture, photographs, illustrations, maps, plans sketches etc.

Rights:To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending and to perform the work publicly in person or through an audio transmission.

Validity: It is not mandatory to register but ishighly recommended. The validity of copyright lasts the lifetime of the author and even till the 60 years after his/her death. The owner is given protection in most countries.

2. Trademarks

Trademark: At first, register trademark online as this acts as a brand element distinguishing your goods and services from those of your competitors and other traders in the market. It creates a distinct identity for your company and thereby securing a brand from being counterfeited.

Marks: Word mark, a logo mark or a slogan, shapes, and unconventional marks like colours, sounds, gestures, animation, holograms etc. can be registered under trademark.

Rights: Gives theexclusive right to use the mark and prevent anyone from using it without permission. The owner also enjoys the right to license, assign and sell the mark in return of compensation.

Validity: 10 years which can be made perpetual, as along as renewed every 10 years. Should be applied separately in every country in which protection is required and has a market in.

3. Patents

Patents come to play when you are looking to protect a new invention that is original and can be used to simplify the lives of people.

Condition: Patent requires an idea to be novel and unique. The industrial procedures can be patented especially if a non-obvious step is introduced in it.

Rights: It gives an exclusive authority over the patented invention, the right to exclude others and exploit the patent and earn from it.                   

Validity: Patent protection is a territorial right and therefore it is effective only within the territory of India (or the country where applied). Separate patents required to be filed for each country where the protection is required. A patent is valid for a period of 20 years after which it goes in the public domain.

It is best to consider IP as something that offers an additive advantage that is beyond the concept of making money or even branding for that matter. It is something with which the business esteem is connected. Insuring the intellectual property is also a common norm since it is an asset. One of the quintessential business components is to have IP protection a part of budgeting and business plan as well.

  • Startup Valuation can be made on the Basis of IP Rights

New companies don't really have monstrous products' stocks or workforce to begin with. Subsequently, a large portion of the estimation of a startup, for the most part, gets from their IP rights. It has been assessed that on the normal, over 80% of the estimation of a new business depends on their IP portfolio.

  • No Over-Stretching the Finances

Unless your startup offers something that has zero creation costs, you will need to tighten the pocket heavily even to make start making profits. Another aspect that the businesses don’t consider is the cost associated with not taking proper care of the intellectual properties.

  • Impose Control on What You Have

Many businesses echo this - "we couldn't care less on the off chance that somebody duplicates us, it's simply free promoting!” and this gets me winced on many occasions.


Certainly, it is pleasant to have some other businesses advancing your administrations or merchandise for nothing. But then, what about the copy that does not matches or justifies the standards that you offer? Practically, you can do "nothing" in such an event and your brand may have to suffer an irreversible loss.

On one hand, the new business has a highly dynamic environment to start a new business but the competition and technology are at peak. One has to remain on edge every time to protect your intellectual property from being used for other substandard products and service. Protecting your IPR is the best and the only way that helps you to create a sustainable and defensible differentiator in a highly competitive market.