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All You Need To Know About Patents In India

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All You Need To Know About Patents In India


India is home to the third largest startup ecosystem in the world trailing behind America and China which rank first and second, respectively.  The startup ecosystem is a rapidly evolving mechanism with more and more new ideas coming to life year after year. Imagine having a unique idea which solves a problem and can be converted into a business model.  If the individual who comes up with the idea fears the idea might be stolen by another person to be replicated into a business model, the individual could apply for a patent to safeguard the idea. A patent is a form of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, selling and importing an invention for a limited period of years, in exchange for publishing and enabling public disclosure of the invention.

The Indian Patents Act was established in 1970 and came into effect from 1972.  The Patent Act establishes what kind of inventions can be patentable and non patentable.  

Patentable Inventions:

For an invention to be established as a patented invention, it needs to satisfy the criteria listed below

  1. The invention should be a one of its kind.  This means the invention shall be completely new and there should be nothing similar of its kind.
  2. The invention should be unique in itself which means if the invention is making an existing technology or design better, it cannot be classified as a patentable invention.
  3. It should be useful by developing and improving the life of the common man without the use and support of illegal things.

An additional thing to remember would be discovery of laws of nature could not be quantified as patentable inventions.  Examples of this would be Newton’s discovery of Gravity or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

Non Patentable Inventions:

According to the Indian Patents Act 1970, Section 3 and 5, there are certain types of inventions that cannot be patented as inventions and are listed below

  1. A frivolous invention or any claim which contradicts known laws of nature.
  2. Anything which is used for commercial purposes but contradicts public order and morality or which is prejudiced and causes harm to humans, animals and plant life.
  3. Discovery of a new or unknown form of substance which does not enhance the known efficacy of the substance.
  4. A method of agriculture or horticulture.
  5. Any process or discovery relating to medicine, surgery,  curative, prophylactic diagnostic, therapeutic or other treatment of human beings or similar treatment in animals.
  6. Discoveries pertaining to atomic energy.

Patent Application Process In India

In order to apply and obtain a patent in India,there are certain steps to be followed.  The steps for the patent application process are given below.

  1. Collect and Journal all the important and relevant information pertaining to the invention with as much detail as possible. Information related to how and why the patent works, the advantages and description of the invention should be present.
  2. Include drawings or designs related to the invention which explain the working of the idea/invention.
  3. Check if the idea qualifies as an invention for the patent application.
  4. Check if the invention meets all criteria and requirements according to Indian Patent Act 1970.
  5. Draft a patent application. A provisional application can be filed if the invention is in the early stages of research and development.  Filing for a provisional application grants a person twelve months to come up with complete specifications.
  6. Upon filing the complete specification along with the application for patent, the application is published after 18 months of first filing.
  7. The application is examined only after the submission of a request for examination (RFE.)   Upon receiving this request the controller gives the patent application to a patent examiner who examines the patent application for various criteria and submits a first examination report which is shared with the patent applier.
  8. Majority of patent applications would be subject to objections and the patent applicant should ensure all objections are resolved.
  9.  After resolving all the objections the application would be placed in order for grant once it is found to be meeting all patentability requirements.

Owning a patent will help in prevention of theft of intellectual property, gives the right to exclusivity, right to commercialize the idea and increase the marketability and monetary value.  

Although the patent application process in India is a very long process and is susceptible to slow bureaucracy, it is important to remember that in the end, owning a patent will be a worthwhile investment.  There is also the possibility of the application process being made digital as well due to the technological advancements in digital security.

 

ALSO READ: Coronavirus Pandemic Testing Startups By Disrupting Supply-Demand

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Types And Details About Corporate Loans

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Types And Details About Corporate Loans

Guest post by Ashish Gupta

Corporate loans are loans that are taken for the purpose of business. There are many banks which provide corporate loans.  However, the eligibility criteria and the upper limit for the sanction of such loans would differ.  The loans are generally sanctioned for those businesses that have been in existence for at least 5 years and have been making profits for a period of at least 2 years before making such an application for the loan.  The funds of the loan when sanctioned can be used for long term as well as short term business expenses.

Corporate loans can be either secured or unsecured loans.  Secured corporate loans require collateral like business assets, for the sanction of the loan, and such collateral can be seized in case of non payment of principal or interest amount depending on the contract between the lender and the borrower.  On the other hand, unsecured corporate loans are those that do not require any collateral as such.  However, unsecured loans can be obtained only if the borrower has a good credit score.

Types of Corporate Loans

There are various types of corporate loans offered to be lent by financial institutions.  Few of them are:

  1. Term loan is a loan that can be secured for the purposes of buying property for business, or for buying new equipment with better technological advancement.
  2. Loans against securities are those where the borrower can obtain a loan by pledging securities like mutual funds, bonds, insurance policies, and any other securities of similar nature.
  3. Letter of Credit Facility and Bank Guarantee is when the bank acts as a surety for transactions made by the concerned person for business purposes.
  4. Cash Credit Facility is wherein the borrower can avail up to 70% to 80% of the value of assets that he/she pledges for business needs.
  5. Overdraft Facility is an offer by the bank to debit your current account beyond the money that is present in there. Such a facility is generally provided according to the assets pledged by the borrower.
  6. Channel Financing helps the distributors in obtaining the funding required for buying new equipment, tools and other items.
  7. Working Capital GST Corporate loans help in attaining quick cash on the basis of the applicant’s GST returns and also eliminates some cumbersome paperwork.
  8. Drop-line overdraft facility is where the lender deposits certain money in a separate account for the borrower, from which the latter can utilise business expenses.  The speciality of this kind of loan is that the borrower only needs to pay interest up to the amount of loan that has been used by him/her from the money deposited in the account.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

The eligibility criteria for each financial or lending institution may vary according to their policies and rules.  However, few of the basic requirements that are necessitated by almost all lending institutions for availing a corporate loan are as follows:

  1. AGE: The applicant must at least be 21 years old, but less than 65 years.
  2. INCOME: The expected annual income of the applicant is generally Rs.1, 00, 00,000. However, some financial institutions may provide loans for a slightly lower income level as well.
  3. INCOME TAX RETURN: The income tax return for at least one year must be filed before applying for such a loan. Some lenders may even expect the applicant to have filed income tax returns for two years before applying for the loan.
  4. PROFIT: Most lenders require that the business must have made profits for at least 2 years before submitting the application for a corporate loan.
  5. CREDIT RATING: The applicant must have good credit ratings and credit score before making an application for a corporate loan, especially for those who wish to obtain unsecured loans.
  6. STABILITY: The history of the business is also looked into by financial institutions to know the stability and growth of the business. 

Documents Required

The documents required may also be subjective depending upon the lender.  However, few documents are fundamental that all lending institutions would need when an application for a corporate loan is submitted. They are:

  1. Permanent Account Number card, or the PAN card
  2. Identity proof
  3. Address proof
  4. Bank Statements for the past 6 months of one years
  5. Continuance proof of the business
  6. The latest Income Tax Returns which have been filed
  7. Other Documents like the certified copies of Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association of the company, or a declaration of sole proprietorship or partnership deed.

Things to consider before applying for a corporate loan

  1. CREDIT SCORE: The applicant must check his/her credit score before applying for such a loan, as credit scores would drastically affect the availability of a loan.
  2. INTEREST RATE: It is important to analyse the interest rates of each bank to ensure that more of the profits in business do not end up getting spent for interests.
  3. TENURE: The tenure of the loan is another important aspect that needs to be considered and analysed for the benefit of the applicant’s business.  If the applicant knows that more profits can be made quickly, then he/she must opt for a shorter term of repayment of loan.  On the other hand, if the applicant is aware that the business might not make profits immediately, then it is better to opt for a long-term loan.
  4. FILING INCOME TAX RETURNS:  The applicant must ensure that the ITR has been filed for at least 1 or 2 years before applying for a corporate loan.
  5. OTHER ALTERNATIVES: The applicant must consider other feasible alternatives than loans while in need of funds for business. For instance, if the business is a registered company, then alternatives such as shares, and debentures must also be considered.

Term of repayment for corporate loans

The term for repaying corporate loans depends on the contract between the lender and the borrower, and the kind of loan that has been secured by the borrower.  The repayment period of some corporate loans may be about 12-48 months, or it can even extend up to 5 years.

 

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How The Events Industry Is Impacted By The COVID-19 Pandemic

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How The Events Industry Is Impacted By The COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way businesses will operate in the future once the world recovers from the aftermath of the virus.  The demand across various sectors went haywire and in some cases has completely dried up, which means these are the industries which are the worst affected.  These are industries which rely on mass gatherings of people and in the current scenario governments across the world are cracking down heavily on large gatherings.  Aviation, Tourism, Movies, Malls, Hospitality, Transportation, sports and events are the worst hit amongst all the sectors.  Events industry in particular falls under the bracket of Meetings-Incentives-Conventions-Exhibitions (MICE) and is a Trillion dollar industry worldwide.  The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for impacting almost 25 millions jobs across the world.  This is just the tip of the iceberg and the actual impact could be much higher when we consider indirect jobs and sporting events.

Multiple large scale events across the globe have been cancelled or deferred until further notice.  The cancellations began in February when the world is waking up to the fact that the virus is highly contagious and is spreading across borders with ease.  The first major cancellation was the Mobile World Congress 2020 edition, which takes place in Barcelona and is an event to exhibit mobile communication technologies.  This was just a premise for what was to follow in the coming months.  

In a survey done by Events and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) and which was shared with Ernst & Young the events and exhibitions sector in India is expected to take a one trillion rupees hit.  According to the report, in India alone it is estimated that 60 million people are unemployed and another 10 million directly affected by the crisis.

Business events like Annual General Meets (AGM,) corporate retreats, product launches, partner meets, conferences and seminars have been cancelled and have instead shifted online to Zoom, Google Meets, Skype and YouTube.  The best example would be the much anticipated OnePlus product launch of their OnePlus 8 series of smartphones.  The event was live telecasted on YouTube and the smartphone is now available for purchasing on e-commerce platform Amazon.

Exhibitions and trade fairs have been cancelled all over the world.  One of the biggest trade fairs which is the Dubai Expo 2020, has cancelled in light of the pandemic.  Some of the largest sporting events in the world like Tokyo Olympics, Football’s Premier League, National Basketball Association (NBA) and the much anticipated Indian Premier League in India stands cancelled at the moment.  

Corporates have been using video conference facilities for conducting internal meetings already, mostly with the intention of trying to run the operations effectively with due consideration to the ‘work from home’ initiative.  Video conferencing solutions by Go-to-Webinar, Kaltura and Zoom have seen an unprecedented surge in demand.  In India Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) have urged the government to extend processes such as tax refunds, loan facilities for the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector and artistes to help reduce the negative impact on the livelihood of people involved in the entertainment and event space.  The Indian Government has responded with initiatives for the MSME sector with its Atma Nirbhar Package.

At present, technology applications such as video-conferences, webinars, virtual (events, meetings) and others are playing their individual parts to try and keep the operations running, especially for the corporate segment.  In the future however, we can see a hybrid approach to hosting events by integrating both virtual and physical components.  However, we will have a better understanding once the industry resumes its operations in three to four months down the line.

 

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How Does WhatsApp Generate Revenue

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How Does WhatsApp Generate Revenue

If you own a smartphone, there is a very high chance that you are a WhatsApp user.  The simple and lightweight online messaging application has embedded itself into our lives and has become indispensable.  Family groups, friend groups, office groups, play groups and many other groups like these see millions of conversations happening on a daily basis.  But have you ever wondered how this leading online messaging application makes its money?  There are no ads on WhatsApp and if that is the case from where does Whatsapp generate its revenue?

The answer to the question goes back to the beginning of WhatsApp which was founded by Brain Acton and Jan Koum, both of whom were ex- Yahoo employees.  When Whatsapp was first developed and deployed for public use it became an instant hit with users but the founders quickly realised they required data centers to handle the huge volumes of data from the user conversations to keep WhatsApp running.  So, they set a price of $1 for some countries and for some other countries it was free for the first year but charged $1 for renewal from the second year onwards.  In short this was a subscription model and Whatsapp had 700 million users at the peak of this model which meant it was generating 700 million dollars in revenue.

Facebook ended up purchasing WhatsApp in 2014 for $ 19 billion but one of the founders Jan Koum decided to leave WhatsApp because of a disagreement with Facebook over its use of user data and its desire to allow advertisements on WhatsApp.  Both the founders were vocal supporters of user data privacy.  As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2 billion users, the second largest user database after Facebook.

ALSO READ: 4 Useful And New WhatsApp Features That Released During The COVID-19 Lockdown 

But How is Whatsapp generating its revenue now since there are still no ads on display in the mobile app.  In a 2016 blogpost WhatsApp said “Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.  The goal is to have people communicate directly with their banks, airlines, etc. over the app, while the businesses pick up the bill previously paid through subscriptions.”  Facebook also uses the data from the user messages in WhatsApp to increase the reach of its ads on Facebook.  However, a user has the ability to turn off the settings which allow Whatsapp to share the data with Facebook.  According to a Forbes estimate, WhatsApp is generating a revenue of $ 5 billion at an average revenue of $4 per user.

Facebook is benefiting from Whatsapp by generating a huge wealth of consumer behavior data which inturn is being used to improve the ads on Facebook.  WhatsApp has a growing revenue stream because of the new users it keeps adding to its database and still has a lot of room to grow.

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