With market economics crossing borders and growing at a galloping pace, business requirements are changing on a day to day basis. Previously, Intellectual Property had one direction, i.e., protecting the intellect. However, with the changing scenarios, Intellectual Property Practitioners are now wearing the hats of technical and business consultants too, beyond legal. The legal expert/ patent attorney acts like a bridge between various stakeholders in the company/ institute to hone their business.
Also, Intellectual Property related data whether it is published patent application or granted ones, published trademarks, designs, has been growing at a tremendous pace and have started giving a lot of insight into various competitive analysis, technology movement, investments, mergers & acquisitions, collaborations, top research and technology human resources, market landscape, production strategies, etc. In addition, the non-patent literatures also provide more technical and business and strategy insights which are very helpful to decide our business model.
Our IP consulting experts have been working with individual inventors, start- ups, educational institutes, research institutes and corporate companies in all sorts of IP activities.
We pursue various kinds of consulting projects to support the clients, some of them are detailed below:
Innovation/ Invention Harvesting Consulting:
In this process, we hand-hold research based organizations to identify specific technical areas that they should start functioning. It includes a substantial dialogue process through which we understand the perspective of the organization, how it is getting ready for future and then supply with reports to set out a Technology Landscape, further we help them to identify white-spaces in the technology area and other unsolved problems, which is further continued to identify various objects and problems, and those are further taken up in workshops and sessions with the research and engineering teams to solve the identified problems and to achieve the desired object, which leads into various inventions. With the literature landscape of the specific technology or product, our expert team discuss with the clients regarding the scope of the prior art, the problems associated with the prior arts and the possible solutions to the prior arts. The inventions can be further groomed with our service of Invention Disclosure Development.
Invention Disclosure Development:
Initially when the inventions are identified, they are generally ideas in abstract form, which are not patentable. These so called ideas are further required to be groomed. This is another dialogue process where our executives have multiple sessions with the inventors to help them in developing invention disclosures for patentable inventions. Our technical expert team helps the client that what kind of experiments has to be carried out to support the patentability of the invention.
Invention Disclosure development is further supplemented with various prior art searches till the idea is perceived into a Patent-able invention. Our expert team has rich experience in recognising the value of each and every portion of the idea which invariable becomes a patentable invention.
Through the Invention harvesting, generally the services are developed in-house, however many times the companies do not carry out inventing and research activities in house, rather they look for partners to do so.
We support such companies to identify a particular technology that should be procured, either by in-licensing of existing technologies or identifying partners to develop the required technologies. In both the cases, we hand-hold with the organization with the end project execution, i.e., prospecting, establishing and maintaining dialogues between the stake-holders, supporting in negotiation process, carrying out any Audits required, preparing the legal binding agreements, getting the agreements executed, effectuating the process movement, enforcing the time lines and deliverables, till the end of project to ensure the deliverables and trainings.
We also help the client to identify potential customer to out- license their technology/ resource including IP asset. Our expert team carefully determine the monetary value of the IP asset using all the available methods in order to provide possible maximum benefit to the client. In addition to helping the client in IP related transactions, we also provide technical support to the client to look for potential partner for collaborative work.
For some organizations, they are quite good at engineering and do not have capacity to get into research for various up gradation of their products/services. The up gradation may include improvement in product quality, process cycle time, productivity etc. To them, we help to identify the solutions which are available through various publications and have not been protected under patents. For this purpose we carry out an extensive publication research, including patent literature, further we validate whether there is a pending patent application or granted patent for target geographies/market, which is further moved to the re-engineering team. We also consider non-patent literature as they provide more detailed information about the solution for the client’s issue.
While re-engineering, if any technical problem is identified, same process of scouting is repeated till the technology is ready and available. Sometimes, during this process, few inventions are generated too, which help to create a monopoly and market position too for an organization. Therefore, our expert team helps the client throughout the re- engineering process which starts from identifying the problems associated with the product/ technology to until successfully overcoming the problems.
During a Freedom to Operate Analysis, many times blocking patents are identified, which stalls the product to market process.
At these stages, we help out the organizations to get an alternative to the blocking patent technology, by either doing similar research like in Re-engineering support, or by setting up sessions with the inventors to sensitize avoiding any part of the claims, or setting up a process for Invention Harvesting to reach the desired object or solve the similar problem in a way different to the blocking technology. Our patent team conducts detailed evaluation of blocking patent’s specification, claim, prosecution history and the prior arts to arrive at the design around strategy. Also, during the design around process we carefully consider all the options available to the patentee to enforce his patent in future. The patentee may initiate an infringement suit based on doctrine of equivalents (DoE), induced infringement and contributory infringement. Hence, our expert team considers all these issues at the time of design around discussion in order to avoid future risk.
Business or Market Research:
In last few years, lot of patents, trademarks, designs have been filed and enormous data has been generated at various patent offices. Using this enormous data and various analytical tools, we conduct various customized studies to carry out various Business and Market objectives, like region of specific technical focus, probable vendors and clients, available market players, and many such business or market research. Our expert team find out the available products in the specific area, customer’s feedback and the necessary improvement required for those products in order to evaluate new opportunity. The clients easily find out suitable geographies for marketing or manufacturing of their product and available resources which is used by the client’s for their product or technology. Further, our market research provides competitor’s business model which improve their product sales and customer’s trust towards their product. It is important to understand the life cycle management of the competitor’s product. Hence, we do research in the product life cycle management thereby helping the client to evaluate that strategy for their business model.
Huge patent data from various patent office’s gives a strong insight into competitors technologies, their strategic movements, their IPR strategies, comparison of technology portfolios between competitors portfolio and yours, bench-marking of technologies with that of competitors and various other such customized and focused studies. Competitive analysis helps the clients to understand the strength and weakness of the competitor and it provides an idea about the potential opportunities available to work on. It helps the clients to decide that which area to focus and which is not, based on their strength of IP protection, marketing and sales strategy etc. Our team helps the client to identify and evaluate direct and indirect competitor in order to provide comprehensive information about the competitor thereby to strategize their investment or business. Competitive analysis also helps the client to understand that how the rival companies are maintaining their IP portfolio, what kind of strategy is adopted by them for IP litigation etc. Having the complete information about the competitor helps the client to work on better product or technology than competitor. In some cases competitive analysis provides strong input to the client to discontinue or avoid the product or technology which the competitor is working and look for the new product or technology thereby to avoid huge losses in terms of money and time.
Based on analysis report we provide complete insight about the strategy/ business model at the time the rival company entered into business and the strategy the competitor is currently practicing.
Intellectual Property Audit:
During Merger & Acquisitions, with respect to various other assets scrutiny, intellectual property scrutiny is also required. Such scrutiny is a tedious auditing process, where quality of the rights, licences of the rights, collaborative efforts, encumbrances in the rights, technical assessment and enforceability of the trademarks, patents, designs, etc. We segregate the IP portfolio into different categories such as IP related to client’s own product, IP which are potential for licensing, IP filed for defensive purpose etc. Hence client can streamline their IP portfolio and act accordingly. As mentioned above, we are expert in IP due diligence to evaluate the strength of IP during licensing or M & A.
Now a days, organizations also do audits of their Intellectual Property to keep themselves streamlined to business objective, pruning of the portfolios, enforcement of the rights, and for keeping themselves immune to infringement of Third Party IP Rights. We help the organization to take IP Audit as one time activity to meet a particular objective or align it to their business processes, so that the organization keep a track to maintain a healthy and competitive IP Portfolio. Our audit team review our client’s product and look for any risks associated with that product with respect to third parties IP rights. It should be noted that IP audit not only includes evaluation of client’s IP asset such as patent, trademark and design, but also includes client’s policies, IP specific agreements, transactions, assignments and procedures. Our team has rich experience in all these sorts of activities and helps the client to conduct their business risk free. For example, our experts evaluate the strength and integrity of the agreements and procedures related to trade secret. And evaluate the impact/ consequences would be occurred to IP rights and its value if a key employee leaving from the organisation.
It is a process in which monetary value of the intellectual property, such as patent and trade mark, is determined. Our expert team comprising technical, legal and finance team provides the best valuation to specific IP our clients are interested in. Knowing the value of IP, the client can do better negotiation during license or assignment of specific IP. The determined IP value helps the client to negotiate the value of the company or specific technology or product during acquisition. Importantly, IP valuation helps parties to reach a better settlement during the patent or trademark litigation. Hence, our team helps the client by providing the best monetary value of the specific IP during the process of buying/ selling, loan, acquisition, commercialization of specific technology, tech- transfer etc.
Our experts team uses all available methods and holistic approach and closely interact with IP owners, wherever applicable, to determine the best possible monetary value of the specific IP.