India: Why Is It Important For Startups To Protect Their Innovative Assets Through Patents, Copyrights & Trademarks?

Propelled by special packages and tax exemptions announced by the Government of India, a swarm of Startups, claiming to provide innovative solutions and products to the customer, are being incorporated. According to the Start IP India initiative by Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), 6096 entities have been recognized as Startups. In a recent DIPP notification, the period for claiming the "Startup" status has been increased from 5 years to 7 years and for a Startup in the field of Biotechnology, the said period is up to 10 years. Further, the DIPP has removed the requirement of a recommendation letter from an incubator or industry association for registration as a Startup.

Nineteen State Governments in India have implemented Startup policies with the objective to promote ease-of-business environment amongst new entrepreneurs in the country. Incubation centres are being set up under Atal Innovation Mission wherein necessary infrastructure, training and guidance would be provided to Startups. The Government is also setting up Research Parks, Bio-Clusters, Bio- Incubators, Technology Transfer Centres and Startup-Assist Centre to encourage entrepreneurs to venture into Startup space.

As in case of any business, Startups are governed by sales, marketing initiatives, revenue cycles, business development, funding, logistics and HR management. However, one of the key differentiators for a Startup is "innovation" as it needs to compete with established or bigger businesses in its respective field. A market-disrupting solution makes a Startup stand out from the crowd. The initial days for any Startup organization are critical in terms of modulating their products or services as per client needs and to make an effort of continued innovation. Equally important is to maintain their exclusivity over the said innovative approach or product by way of protecting their IP rights.

One of the main reasons for a Startup to protect its IP is because attaining IP rights over a product or service to the exclusion of others is well recognized in financial lifecycle of the company, which extraordinarily increases the credibility of the startup; hence, attracting investments.

The present article does not educate about what is IP and what does different IP mean, rather, we have focussed on why it is important for a startup to protect their IP. Based on our interactions with entrepreneurs, we have listed issues / challenges often faced by startups.

  • How aggressively to identify IP: It is undisputable that IP is important but as the saying goes "excess of anything is bad", one should be careful while considering several IPs for registrations. The decision to define the important or prime IP should be made in terms of startup's identity and branding, i.e., trademark of company and prime products/processes, innovation, the layouts and designs created by the company.
  • Best time to protect IP: By the rule of thumb, IP must be protected right from its birth. Therefore, the prime IP should be protected as soon as possible. Further, in case of patents and designs, the IP should be applied for protections right at the time of inception of the invention or the company i.e. the best time is at the time of creation. Other IPs can be planned in a systematic manner and protected in phases.
  • Best IP to protect: For a startup the IPs of prime importance are trademarks, patents and designs. The choice of IP protection and extent can sometimes be difficult. For example, a product can have various IP protections, for example, unique shape of a product. . A design or a shape of a product can be a subject matter of trademark, copyright or design. There are provisions under the respective statutes to define when a particular shape would be considered as which kind of IP. Therefore, while all IP types are important, the entrepreneur needs to consult before prioritizing IP protections.
  • Search for existing IP before filing: IP rights are exclusionary monopolistic rights to an entity/individual and hence a search or lookout for previously residing right or existence of IP in public domain must be considered. It may prove to be highly detrimental if the startup does not search before establishing a business and more importantly identifying existing IP in the field. There are umpteen ways to search for already protected IP - through the patent archives, trademark and company registers, designs register and the like.
  • Not to disclose before launch: In India, 'first to file' system is applicable for patent protection. Therefore, before launching or even discussing with prospective investors, it is highly advisable to file a patent application claiming protection over the innovative product or process.

In addition to the above, the Government of India has given several exemptions in the fees for IP protections for qualifying startups under the Startup India scheme of DIPP. For patent protection the fees for start-ups is brought down by 80%, for trademarks the fee reduction is by 50%. Further, a startup can avail expedited examination facility at the Patent Office wherein the patent application can get disposedoff within 12-18 months from the date of filing. Hence, for a startup, IP protection is not as costly as it would be for non-startup companies. What is most important for Indian Startups is that they should continuously work on creating and identifying IP and at the same time consciously work towards 'innovating and protecting' for excelling in their respective businesses.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
United States
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions