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by Admin | 10/10/16

5 Ways to Protect Your Partner’s IP Rights

Many international companies in previous decade have burnt their hands while trying to capture foreign market by partnering with a local manufacturing player. Most of their manufacturing partners were involved in intellectual property infringements and eventually turned into competitors. It was one of the biggest learning lessons for companies entering new markets.

Now, India is being looked upon as the next big manufacturing hub of the world. Many foreign companies are showing interest in investing but their biggest concern is IP protection. Government is taking several initiatives on IP protection to boost Make in India campaign and protect interests of investors. These initiatives will continuously improve over time. But, will those initiatives be enough to convince companies to move their manufacturing or partner with firms in India? Can this expansion to Indian market be made any easier? How can Indian manufacturers assure their prospective joint venture partners on IP protection?

IP Registration

As per Indian law, IP will be authorized to the one who registers first, not to who invents first. Manufacturers should encourage interested partners to choose a reputed local attorney to file their IPs as soon as possible before taking any discussion further. A local attorney will ensure all loopholes are covered in the application and can guide them in the registration process.

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Right Partner

Selecting a suitable partner for international joint venture is not an easy task. Foreign companies should do their due diligence on finding the right partners. Local manufacturing companies should come clean, provide necessary documents and support structure during the process. Indian firms should:

  • Be transparent and produce all their financial resources
  • Understand common goals
  • Share their personnel’s experience, knowledge, flexibility, adaptability, language fluency and culture awareness
  • Be clear on their organizational working culture and management beliefs

Agreements

In joint ventures, legal paperwork is very critical. Indian manufacturers should be ready to go through rigorous legal work, ensure that agreements cover every aspect of the partnership in detail. Local firms should be open to discussion and be prepared to sign on following type of agreements:

  • NNN (Non-Disclosure, Non-Use and Non-Circumvention) Agreement
  • New Product Development Agreement
  • Individual NDA Agreement
  • Any other relevant paper work

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Internal IP Team

Indian firms should adopt their foreign partner’s IP protection strategy. Should have no reservations against their team’s regular inspections and reviews. Local manufacturers can take following initiatives:

  • Bring awareness among employees about IP and its protection
  • Establish and follow appropriate security procedures
  • Make everyone in the company sign an employee agreement during the time of hiring
  • Create an exit interview procedure and remind leaving employee about his or her obligations with respect to company’s IP
  • Conduct internal IP audits

IP as Investment

Any discussion around IP as a strategic investment should be welcomed by Indian companies. Acquiring IP can enhance local company’s financial situation. Many SME’s have seen market value increase overnight after a technology transfer or patent acquisition deal. IP investment strategy can be any of the following:

  • Equity in the company
  • Upfront cash transaction
  • Licensing fee
  • Combination of above or any other deal

Ultimately, choosing the right partners with credibility and international exposure will make the journey more fruitful. Developing relationship and trust will be the key to a successful partnership.

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Our team has years of experience working in cross cultural environment and is ready to embrace innovation-continuous improvement culture. We are open to discussions on IP as investment and also ready to sign on NDA/NNN agreements. We at B&A Health will take all the necessary measures to ensure our prospective joint venture partner’s IP rights are protected. And will strictly abide by all the agreed terms and conditions.

Any other ways to protect their IP rights? Please do share your ideas.