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Intellectual Property: The 'in' thing

May 13, 2009 | ascent
On one hand, where the world is fighting the biggest economic slumps ever, there are certain industries which are gaining more impetus than ever before and Intellectual Property is amongst the top most. Intellectual Property has gradually become a very important asset for companies globally. Currently, IP law accounts for over 30 per cent of the total corporate law cases being fought in India. It is a generally observed phenomenon that at the time of financial slowdown, IP law becomes a booming sector as companies want to hold onto the assets they have.

Gaining impetus

“It is correct to state that the focus on Intellectual Property has increased significantly in today’s economically unstable situation. In fact, recessionary conditions often lead to an increase in IP litigation. When revenues of companies are adversely impacted, CFOs look to generating value from untapped sources, intellectual property being one of them. Further, in a highly competitive environment, companies need to highlight their competitive advantage. IP law gives them an opportunity to keep their technology exclusively to themselves without sharing it,” says Anup Bhasin, COO, UnitedLex. Vikas Dhar, director, PACE Business Operations and Sukla Chandra, director,PACE GRC Operations - GEGR Legal concur, “During economic slowdowns, monetising intangible assets like IP presents a huge commercial opportunity. IP is therefore is a vital organ to nurture and grow a company’s intellectual value and promote its commercial success in these times.”

“The Indian IP scenario has undergone a huge transformation over the last few years. The recent spur made by the patent infringement cases in the Indian pharmaceuticals and automobiles industry is causing a gradual shift in the mind set of Indian companies, in line with their US counterparts,” adds Bhasin. 


A must-have for organisations

Every organisation today understands the need for protecting their assets and this is where IP comes into play. “Intellectual Property has always inspired corporate activity and more so recently, where entrepreneurship has been driven by invention and innovation,” expresses Arun SR (Seebe Raj), partner, ALMT Legal Advocates & Solicitors. Intellectual Property includes Industrial Property like Trademarks, Patents, Industrial Designs, Trade secrets, etc. “Every corporate puts a lot of time and efforts to develop its Intellectual Property and the industries which rely on IP protections are estimated to produce around 70 per cent more value per added employee than non-IP industries. It is eventually an important asset for companies. An organisation must protect intellectual assets to achieve their maximum commercial value,” adds Vishnu R Dusad, CEO & MD, Nucleus Software.

“Ideas today have the potential to become assets worth millions of dollars. Protection of an Intellectual Property has become one of the top priorities of a company irrespective of the fact that whether the same is just a process or an end product. Infringement of the same can lead to loss of huge monetary value and the goodwill of a company,” adds Arun SR.

Growing need for talent
In the legal world, the field of Intellectual Property remains the most sought after area of practice for an increasing number of law graduates in India. “Corporates are now compelling their legal managers and risk managers to understand the IP law regime and further, companies are looking at specialist IP lawyers or advisors to manage their complex and intricate world of law and invention. Also, lawyers today are seeking specialised training and skill acquisitions in IP law and practice to face the new changing and challenging world of corporate practice involving IP protection, prosecution and enforcement,” informs Arun SR.

Bhasin further adds, “With more and more companies focusing on preserving their IP, the opportunities in this area have also increased significantly, thereby attracting more talent. Careers in IP are increasingly sought after as it is now perceived as a “value added” area of work.”

The growing competition in the market along with the ongoing economic recession has brought Intellectual Property into the limelight is also a positive sign for IP lawyers in the country. The future certainly looks bright.