Service partnerships and One sided contracts

Legal processes are always painful. Making long contracts and getting people to read it is funny excercise. However, every company goes through it when a product/service has to be delivered. Take following points in consideration

1. What will happen to updates / Modification to delivery? Do you have seperate AMC planed ?
2. What about confidentiallity ? Does this entire engagement need some sonfidentiallity ?
3. What about Intellectual property right/ patent ? If you are developing something unique with the help of other party, who will have the rights of final delivery.

Most of the contracts are one-sided. Although, there may be talk of fairness in approach and win-2 situations. Both have to come on table based on thier situations and negotiate hard on each clause.

In world , huge unequality exists. Powerful always finds its way to push its clauses. Demon hide in legal languages. I feel lawyers are trained in it. They know who to hide an important clause behind cloud of words. On other side, they also get training how to read between lines.

Only disadvantage I see is one page document could go upto 100 page contract. I met one legal expert who thinks 50 yrs from now. Making hypthetical situations and getting them documented waste everyone’s time sometimes.

Advantage of legal person in company is no one can question his authority. They have power of fear. They articulate fear ( sometime genuine concern too) very well. Even top leaders find them difficult to ignore.

Why and what should you patent?

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The basic reason why inventors/ companies go for patent protection is for the exclusive right that they hold over their invention for a specific period. But besides this obvious reason, there are other reasons why an inventor/ assignee would want to patent his invention.

Before we discuss the other reasons, let us first look at what rights do the term “exclusive right” of the inventor encompasses. Exclusive rights means the inventor wields monopoly rights over his invention, such that he can stop others from using his invention without his permission. This, interpreted in another sense, would mean he can gain royalties from persons who use his invention. Royalties is one reason why many inventors/ companies want to patent.

Besides this privilege of exclusivity, many companies use the patent system as a weapon of defense also, i.e. they patent to stay ahead of others besides being able to stop others from overtaking their progress.

Sometimes, a single novel invention is all it takes for a company to leap light years ahead of others. In extreme cases, a single patent had started up entire industries- like the xerography technology started by the company, Xerox Corporation.

As a start-up company, having a patent brings an advantage of the company’s ability to rope in investors. Investors would always look for signs of growth, of knowing that his investment would be protected in a company and he would get some returns out of it. Companies with strong patents would always have a unique position in the market. This would in turn rope in investments to your company.

Nowadays, most companies understand the importance of IP valuation and have IP portfolios to manage their IP assets. Valuation is important for investment- to show the investors the strength of the company’s IP; and also for licensing and Mergers & Acquisition- to realize the full potential of the patents.

As seen, there are compelling reasons why you should patent your inventions but the next important question is: Should one try to patent any invention that one comes across? In other words, what should be patented?

The one major hurdle in the patent procedure is that patenting is an expensive affair. It becomes an even more expensive affair when you want to patent in several countries; since, unlike the general notion, patents are territorial and are not protected internationally.

Hence, one should identify in which inventions to invest money and which to forsake. To estimate whether one should go for patenting or not, the question to be asked is- how successful will the patented product be? If it is successful enough to be wanted by the competitors, then it is worth protecting. If it can give a reasonable profit by licensing it to others, then also it is worth protecting. However, if it gives a very meager amount of profits, then there is no point in investing money trying to patent it.

Though patenting might give your company very many advantages, yet before going forth, you should fully realize the value of your patent, the equation of your investment to the value you will receive from your patent; and once sure of the value of your patent, go forth investing in it.

Seven Step Strategy On Patent Search

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USPTO website explains the patent search step. This may be helpful for the inventors, who normally do the search only using keyword search, here you will be able to perform by using classification search.

Brainstorm keywords related to the purpose, use and composition of the invention.

Look up the words in the Index to the U.S. Patent Classification to find potential class/subclasses.

Verify the relevancy of the class/subclasses by using the Classification Schedule in the Manual of Classification .

Read the Classification Definitions to verify the scope of the subclasses and note “see also” references.

Search the Issued Patents and the Published Applications databases by “Current US Classification” and access full-text patents and published applications.

Review the claims, specifications and drawings of documents retrieved for relevancy.

Check all references and note the “U.S. Cl.” and “Field of Search” areas for additional class/subclasses to search.

Design Patent in India

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“Design” may be obtained to the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament, or composition of lines or colours applied to any article. It can be in two or three dimensional, or in both forms by any industrial means or process. It can be manual or mechanical or chemical; separate or combined; but the finished article appeal must be judged solely by the eye, for example- Jewellery, Computer icon, etc. Design does not include any mode or principle of construction. To qualify for a design patent, the subject must be new in the sense that no single, identical design exists in the prior art. It must satisfy the ornamental standards, and it must be original to the inventor/inventors seeking protection. It must not be on the basis of any previously existing design or combination of designs when viewed through the eyes of a designer skilled in the art. It must be issued for an article comprised in the prescribed classes of articles under design law. When your product design gives you a commercial advantage, you should protect your design by filing of design patent.

Salient features of design patent in India are as follows:

When a design is registered, the registered proprietor of the registered design has copyright in the design for duration of ten years from the date of registration. It can be extended for another five years from the expiration of the original period of ten years in a prescribed manner

Piracy of registered design is illegal by any person during the existence of copyright, only license or written consent of the registered proprietor allows doing anything with the registered design.

A registered proprietor can sue to bring a suit for the recovery of damages for any contravention of imitation of a registered design.

A registered proprietor can do assignments and transmissions of a registered design and the details of the same is entered in the book of register of design for record.
Where a person becomes entitled by assignments, transmission or other operation of law to the copyright in a registered design, he may make application in the prescribed form to the Controller of Design to register his title,
The exhibition of a design, or of any article to which a design is applied, does not prevent the design from being registered or invalidate the registration, provided, the exhibitor give previous notice to the controller of design in a prescribed manner. Such application for registration is made within six months from the date of first exhibiting the design or article or publishing a description of the design.

The provisions of the Patents Act, 1970 with regard to certificates of the validity of a patent, and to the remedy applies in the same manner in case of a registered design as in the case of patents.