India: Entrepreneurial Dilemmas In 'Make In India'

INTRODUCTION:

India under the leadership of new Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has started 'Make In India' campaign which is a well thought out idea in order to achieve the self sufficiency and the growth of the economy. The major objective behind the initiative is to focus on 25 sectors of the economy for job creation and skill enhancement. Some of these sectors are: automobiles, chemicals, IT, pharmaceuticals, textiles, ports, aviation, leather, tourism and hospitality, wellness, railways, auto components, design manufacturing, renewable energy, mining, biotechnology, and electronics. The initiative hopes to increase GDP growth and tax revenue. This campaign also hopes that more and more entrepreneurs come up with their own business and help in creation of jobs which will also solve the problem of unemployment. The initiative hopes to attract capital and technological investment in India. Although this initiative is a boost for the people who want to establish themselves as an entrepreneurs but it would require proper guidance as there are various aspects which these entrepreneurs ignore and then face various problems later on.

DEVELOPMENT PHASE AND CHALLENGES FOR A NEW BUSINESS:

India being a home to a young work force has potential to do wonders and many young professionals have taken a step forward by establishing various new startups. There are numerous examples wherein young Indians have came up with an idea and developed that idea into a big business such as flipkarts, Paytm, makemytrip etc. These are all examples of the potential that new breed of Indian professionals have and it is contributing to the idea of make in India.

Having an idea is one thing and executing the same in to a business is another. It requires planning and management apart from the technical skills to establish an idea into a big business. Being a part of the world where every move is to be calculated to make sure, that a proper start will lead to a profitable venture. Apart from all the planning regarding infrastructure and manpower, the intellectual property attached with the business need to be looked after from the first day itself. In contemporary time an idea is everything, it is required that the idea needs to be protected at the first instance else whole planning can go wrong in long run.

PROBLEM FACED BY STARTUPS:

Although the people nowadays have knowledge about the IP rights in India but not to the extent that they can decide properly about protection required for their ideas and products. Having a firsthand experience of dealing with the problem faced by one of the newbie's of Indian startup 'WITWORKS1' started by three students of IIT (Indian Institute of Technology). The first problem faced by them was that they have invented a new product and launched it without getting the proper IP protection for it. This problem was discussed with one of the member of WITWORKS and he told that they were so much engrossed in development of the product and had not thought about protection of IP rights at the initial stages of development. Later on, when the product was launched and they were promoting it, they realized that it was a mistake as same might had proven detrimental to their development. There are several similar problems which have been faced by the owner of a new business in relation to the protection of IPRs such as:

  • Planning for protections after launch of the product/idea: it is not a prerogative to plan for the protection of IP rights after all the planning are finished for the business. The protection of the IP rights should be in the topmost agenda of a new startup as the protection provided under different IP laws based upon some critical time windows which are required to be kept in mind. Once the time is passed then there is nothing which a person can do about it for example a patent is required to be filed for a product before it comes into public domain. Even a little promotion of the product can deny you right of patent on a product. Further a trademark is required to be promoted from day one. Even if the production and distribution of a product is not started then also there is a need to promote trademark in order to make it distinctive. Hence each and every moment is important for planning of IP rights and it should be given equal importance.
  • Confusion regarding choice of proper protection for the idea/product: The choice of IP protection can sometime be a difficult problem for a novice. For example a product can have various shapes and same can be protected under different IP protections provided in India. A design or a shape of a product can be a subject matter of trademark, copyright as well of design. In order to safeguard right related to a distinctive shape it is of utmost importance that the proper mode of protection should be chosen to get maximum out of the intellect put in creation of the shape. One wrong move can easily ruin all the efforts made in creation of the design. More specifically it could be said that the confusion related to the registration of design is mainly concerned with the copyright and design registration, as any design which is distinctive and can be represented graphically will get registration under the Trademark Act, 1999. The confusion comes when deciding between copyright and design protection. For better understanding the problem it is relevant to go through the provision of both Acts dealing with the same issue or to take proper legal guidance from an expert in the field.
  • Lack of research before the launch of idea/ products: IP rights are individual based rights and provide monopolistic rights in nature hence a lack of research before establishing a business can prove to be detrimental. It is required that before an idea is developed in to a business, person should do proper research in the relevant field in order to be sure that the same idea is not yet developed in the field with the similar means. A prior art search in case of patents for a product or a database search in case of trademark should be done before investment is made otherwise time and money spent on an idea which is already developed would be of no use.
  • Lack of secrecy before the launch: Most of the IP rights are based upon priority and once the same is lost, it doesn't lead to any thing. In the present age of social media, it is of utmost importance that secrecy should be maintained during the development of an idea/product. The people working in the development team should be bound by the non-disclosure agreements and a proper check should be maintained so that information even to the slightest of importance should not go out before IP rights are secured.

SOLUTION OF PROBLEM WITH BETTER PLANNING:

A better planning will yield the desired results, WITWORKS, which is now coming up with two new products has now taken care of their initial hiccups. This time around they have taken the legal guidance from the experts in the IPR field and now well equipped for tackling the problems related to the IP rights. It is of utmost importance to take help of the experts when you are in the initial stages of your business in order to be prepared for the future.

It is better to plan for a global protection of IP rights at the initial stages as some protections are time bound and once the time period lapsed, the protection also lapsed with it, as in case of filing of Patent applications. There are various ways by which a person can apply in the multiple jurisdictions for protection of IP rights like; through a single application a person can file application for the registration of trademark in various countries by Madrid system of protection of trademark rights. Once the initial planning is finalized and there is a surety about the jurisdiction which, as per planning, will be the market where product will have demand should, be tapped in the first phase and the IP rights should be secured in those countries before the time frame expires.

CONCLUSION:

A business is only an idea which is converted into a business venture and it is of the utmost importance that same should be guarded against any threat. Ignorance of law is no defense and same cannot be pleaded in case of IP rights as they provide time bound protection hence it is imperative that IP rights must be secured at the first instance. The Make in India initiative of the Indian government is for creation of jobs and entrepreneurs in India and the government is also promoting the literacy in the field of IP rights for the common people. There are various courses which can be attended by the people to have a better understanding of IP laws and a person can learn a lot from these courses.

Footnote

1. More about 'witworks' is available on www.witworks.com

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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