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Innovation and IPR : Perspective for SME Sector

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

Intellectual Property Rights have been extensively used by big organizations, multi-nationals, and corporate giants to secure their innovation. While for the aforementioned, IPR has been widely known, it is the MSME sector which is generally unaware of benefits out of IPR. It is a well-known fact that there is a dearth of awareness of IPR in MSME. Ironically, MSME is a sector, which drives a significant portion of innovation in the country. Still, there is a reluctance or lack of awareness for IPR in the MSME sector.

Reasons for low IPR activity in MSME :

1. Lack of awareness

2. Innovation Drive

3. Cost

4. Enforceability of IPR

5. Commercialization aspects

1. Lack of awareness can be countered with IPR knowledge sessions with industry cooperation. Organizations such as chambers of commerce & industry and industry-specific associations have a primary role to play in this regard. Industry players must understand basic IPR principles which shall make them aware of their potential rights. When to file a trademark versus copyright? Whether to file a patent or keep a process as a trade secret ?? Whether they chose to exercise such potential rights or not is a different matter altogether.

2. Innovation Drive – Everyone understands why to Innovate. Primarily for the following reasons:

▪ To sustain a rapidly changing economic environment;

▪ Changing consumer demands and satisfaction levels;

▪ Compete big market players as the cost might not be the only savior but barrier to entry definitely would be.

However, not everyone understands What to Innovate and How to Innovate. This is where TRIZ ( Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) comes into play. Patent landscapes provide an overview of white spaces in technological domains. An additional analysis using TRIZ throws light into such white spaces and identifies questions as to whether investing in these technological white spaces might be beneficial ? ( It may be a case that the technological domain in the white space region may have a physical limit or technological limit). A sense of innovation needs to be deeply rooted in MSME players.

3. Cost and Time - It’s a fact that IPR is a costly and time-consuming affair. However, given the immense economic benefits carried by them, it may preferably be called a necessary evil. Still, MSME must be aware of different government incentives provided for IPR related activities such as grants for IP filing and accelerated examination.

4. Enforceability - MSME must understand that patents and trademark must be enforced actively in order to reap benefits out of it. They are not mere certificates to be placed in company premises or cabins nor are they mere personal achievement. Try looking at them as an asset for the company. Regular monitoring services around your competition might prove beneficial.

5. Commercialization aspect - As mentioned above, IPR should be treated as an asset. When we treat them as an asset, the asset must have prospects of commercialization. An important factor for low interest from MSME sector in IPR is the lack of commercialization opportunities for granted IPR. We are developing a platform where MSME could list their IPR for probable licensing deals and sales. Further support in monetization with active enforceability options shall be provided to participants.

Its time to take India up in the innovation ranking from the current 52nd to top 10 and MSMEs have a crucial role to play in this dream.

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