How to protect your Startup Idea? (Intellectual Property)

Startups and the Endless Possibilities

Sometimes a big corporation isn’t big enough for your brilliant ideas and you decide to go out into the free market and form your own startup. That’s great! You can now explore all options, work passionately on your interests and provide real-time value to the people. However, after the company registration procedure is done and dusted, there are still many issues surrounding the startup. One of these is the threat of someone stealing your idea and presenting to the world as their own. You wouldn’t want that now, would you? With this article, we’re going to look at Intellectual Property (IP) including trademarks, copyrights and patents and how they can help protect your startup idea.

Intro to Intellectual Property(IP)

The word “Intellectual Property” was first used in the 19th century however it wasn’t until the 20th century that term became a common usage and helped protect creations of intellect. Officially, Intellectual Property is defined as a class of property that includes intangible (lack of physical substance) creations of the intellect of an individual or an organization. These include patent, trademark, and copyright. Intellectual property can also encompass trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition. The basic essence behind all the legal jargon is that your brilliant startup idea, your brainchild, is yours and yours alone and Trademark Registration, Patent Registration or Copyright Registration procedures can help ensure that they stay yours legally.

Trademark Registration

Before we get started with TradeMark Registration, let’s first ask yourselves What is a trademark?  A trademark is basically a recognizable sign, design, expression which distinguishes them as unique and as an Intellectual Property of a particular individual or organization. The word “expression” constitutes slogan, photograph, logo, graphic, color combination, sound or even smell. In most cases, however, brands look to trademark the brand name or logos. For eg. Nike’s Slogan “Just do it” and their swoosh icon are all registered trademarks. Trademark registration can help protect your startup idea and the benefits could also ensure you form a company with the brand name of your choice.

NOTE: Trademarks for Services are called Service Marks(SM)

Here’s an explainer video to help you with trademark registration.

Trademark Registration Procedure

The procedure for trademark registration is simplistic and involves the following steps:

  • Conduct a Trademark Search – To file a trademark you need to ensure that there is no infringement of existing trademarks Trademark Search is a very critical and crucial step towards registering your own trademark(s). Apart from the legal ramifications of trademark infringement, a conflict between your proposed trademark and an already existing trademark could potentially lead to the tarnishing of your personal brand which you worked very hard on, undoing all the hard work behind it.
    Hop on to our Free Trademark Search Tool
  • Identify your Trademark Class- Depending on the type of product or service, In India, trademarks fall under 45 classes. You can check which classes of trademarks fall by following the link: Trademarks Classes in India.
  • File your Application – File the application with appropriate Documents for trademark registration along with the prescribed fees. After filing the application for the trademark you can safely use the TM (TradeMark) or SM(Service Mark) symbol. This basically indicates that trademark is pending for the IP and alerts competitors of possible infringements
  • Trademark Jornal- Your trademark gets published in the Trademarks Journal where a hearing is conducted on it for possible objections.
  • Certificate Issue-  If no objections are raised against the trademark, a Trademark Registration certificate is issued. Including everything, a trademark is registered in about 18-24 months and are valid

Patent Registration

Patents are basically a type of intellectual property which prohibits others to replicate, selling, using or importing a particular invention or a revolutionary process. If you have invented a unique and a path-breaking system you should go for patent registration procedure. The rights of a patent are granted if they inventor/ owner discloses details about the invention to the general public.

Example of a famous patent that helped launched a billion-dollar business empire is Facebook’s Dynamically Generating a Privacy Summary

Below we present to you an explainer video on Patent Registration.

 

Patent Registration Procedure

The procedure for Patent registration in India is not very complicated and it consists of the following steps:

  • Patentability Search- In order to avoid conflicts with existing patents, a patentability search has to be conducted.
  • Patent Application- You have to draft an application with basic individual/company info and appropriate documents. Check out: Documents for Patent registration in India
  • File Application – After carefully checking your application you have to file the application with the Indian Patent Office. Patent Applications are of two types- Provisional Patent Application and Non-Provisional Patent Application. In a Provisional Patent Application, Applicant has the time span of 12 months to file for Non-Provisional Patent.
  • Completion –  After filing the application for final Non-Provisional Patent, it takes about 18-24 months to get a patent registered and they are valid for a term of 20 years.

Copyright Registration

Copyright is basically a class of Intellectual Property which provides protection against copy and distribution of a particular piece of content/ creation developed by a creator. Technically, there are various bundles of rights under Copyright like communication to the public, the rights of reproduction, adaptation, and translation of the work.

Copyright basically protects the following classes of work

  • Literary works (e.g., written books, computer programs, website)
  • Dramatic works (e.g., scripts for films and dramas)
  • Musical works (e.g., melodies)
  • Artistic works (e.g., paintings, photographs)
  • Published edition
  • Recorded Sound
  • Movies, Films, and Telefilms
  • Broadcasts on Radio and Television
  • Performances

Below we provide you with an explainer video on Copyright Registration

Copyright Registration Procedure

  • Prepare Application- You will have to prepare a copyright application.
    Following are the details for Copyright registration

Personal details: This includes the Name, Address, and Nationality of Applicant. Applicant should specify the nature. Whether he is the owner or the representative?

Nature of the work: This includes class & description of the work, the title of the Work. In the case of a website copyright, give the URL of the website. You also need to mention the language of the Work

Date of Publication: Mention the date of Publication in internal magazines (if possible). Like a company magazine or a research paper submitted to a professor does not count as publication.
NOTE: Separate Application has to be filed for each piece of work.

  • File Copyright Application- Copyright Application can be filed with the respective Copyright Office or you can accomplish Copyright Registration with the help of LegalRaasta.
  • Copyright Certified-  Copyright certification will take 10 months and they will be valid for a time period of 60 years.

 

Conclusion

Thus, it is easy to see that there are many rules and regulations regarding Intellectual Property which can help protect your startup idea. If done carefully, you can protect the Intellectual Property of your startup brilliantly and start building towards that billion-dollar business empire. All the best for your ventures! You can consider taking professional help on the legal formalities from our expert team. We specialize in Intellectual Property registration services like Patent registration, Trademark Registration, and Copyright Registration. If you prefer a more personal touch ring us up at +91-875008585 or e-mail at contact@legalraasta.com

 “Perform a free Trademark Search before applying for it.”

By |2018-10-25T05:50:12+00:00September 7th, 2018|Categories: Trademark|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on How to protect your Startup Idea? (Intellectual Property)

About the Author:

Himanshu Jain is the founder of LegalRaasta – India's top portal for registration, trademark, return filing and loans. Himanshu is a CFA (US) & MBA (ISB). He has over 8+ years of corporate / consulting experience with top firms like McKinsey