IP FOR MANUFACTURING

In any business, there are three kinds of property that are vital for its functioning: movable property, immovable property and intangible property. Intangible property is generally known asIntellectual Property i.e. the property which is created by human intellect. Over the years, the value of intellectual property has grown tremendously, and it is now a vital element to business. Interestingly, it is an invisible property which takes a pivotal role in today’s competitive business. It also helps a business to grow at the global perspective.

To be able to grow at an international level and be ahead from the rest, protection of Intellectual Property Rights should be the primary concern. For instance, a patent protection can give exclusive right to an invention, be it a product or a process. A trademark is a name by which the product is known in the market. Choosing a good trademark is especially important as it sets your goods and services apart from others. Trademark protection can be granted to a mark, sign, and symbol to distinguish a product from that of others. Further, Copyright protection for literary and artistic works in the trademark is important to avoid any legal issues in the future. Design protection to a product prevents others from using the same design for his own product.

Protection of IPR is especially important in the manufacturing sector as it allows the processes and products to be distinguished from that of others. IP is a wealth creating machine which gives legitimate ownership over the creation. Every business should rely on intellectual property rights and invest to secure these rights.

IPR plays a vital role in manufacturing industries. The IPR issues faced in the sub-sectors of the manufacturing sector differ. However, there are a number of issues present that apply across all the sub-sectors and should be given careful consideration by all involved to ensure that the foundations are supported by the right protections.

The changes that drive this sector are R&D, innovation and process efficiencies. These require adequate IP protection to maintain a competitive edge.

Typically, a manufacturing industry employs various industrial processes for converting natural resources into something useable and marketable for their own benefit. Examples of some of them are construction industry, transportation industry, electronics and telecommunication industries, chemical industry and mechanical industry. The manufacturing industry produces various types of products and employs various industrial processes to produce their products. Every industry in the manufacturing sector contains an R&D (Research and Development) department which continuously comes up with new industrial process or new designs for a product.

These new designs and industrial process are a result of their intellect mind. Therefore, it is fair to say that the manufacturing industry lives and breathes on new innovations.

An inventive step in the process or an innovative product in the manufacture can be patented. Patents protect inventions, whether in relation to a product or a process. They create monopoly rights. They enable an owner to prevent any use of the invention by others. Conditions for a product or process to be patented are:

  • Novelty,
  • Inventive step,
  • Industrial application.

Patent is the most important legal protection that has to be achieved, if the business involves new, inventive process or new innovative products. If it does involve inventive process and innovative products, it is of vital importance that the patent protection is sought before commencement of the business. Patent protection is the primary step before venturing into the main business to prevent others from using the same process or product. It is not advisable to seek patent protection after the commencement of the business as it would pose difficulty.

Similarly, the manufacturers should seek trademark protection before the commencement of the business. Trademark protection prevents others from using the same mark for a product. If the manufacturer wishes to use a particular name, design, picture or graphics to refer to the product, it should be protected beforehand. This is a precautionary step because trademark search before the business commences will ensure whether the particular name or design can be used or not.

Third area of IPR that comes into play is the protection of designs. Designs protect the appearance of products or parts. Whilst design protection generally excludes technical features, it is not only limited to aesthetically appealing objects. Design protection can be used even for graphic designs such as company logos, and also for relatively utilitarian designs. There have been publicised cases regarding the infringement of simple items. As with patents, registered designs provide monopoly rights,

India is a fast growing economy and innovation is becoming priority for Indian businesses. This innovation needs protection and for this IP is necessary. A historical and continuing future threat for the manufacturing sector arises from the growing number of infringing goods and the increasing ease with which those products can enter the market. The growth of additive manufacturing particularly will make breaches harder for manufacturers to identify. Here action must be taken to quickly safeguard reputation and avoid brand deterioration.