Managing Intellectual Property is a Strategic Option for Agriculture & Food businesses

Priyanka Sardana and Vijay Sardana

Food Business and Intellectual Property

In this series on of articles an attempt was made to familiarize our readers about new legal environment related to Intellectual property right because Government of India is integrating Indian economy with world and there will be implication on the way we are conducting our businesses in food processing industry.

In highly competitive business environment and in the increasingly knowledge-driven economy, intellectual property is a key consideration in day-to-day business decisions. New products, brands and creative designs appear almost every day on the market. They are the result of continuous human innovation and creativity. Freedom to think provides an opportunity to create knowledge and wealth. Small and medium-sized enterprises because of their nature do provide freedom to express and creativity and are often the driving force behind such innovations. At the same time the innovative and creative capacity of small and medium companies is not, however, always fully exploited, as many Small companies are not aware of the intellectual property system or the protection it can provide for their inventions, brands, and designs.

If left unprotected, a good invention or creation may be lost to larger competitors. They are in a better position to commercialize the product or service at a more affordable price, leaving the original inventor or creator without any financial benefit or reward. Adequate protection of any company’s intellectual property is a crucial step in deterring potential infringement and in turning ideas into business assets with a real market value. Taking full advantage of the IP system enables companies to profit from their innovative capacity and creativity, which encourages and helps to fund further innovation in the company.

The purpose of writing this series of article was to educate small and medium enterprises enabling them to fully utilize their Intellectual property assets in their food processing industry activities.

Intellectual Property Enhances Competitiveness

In recent past we have see large number of innovations in Indian food and agriculture sector affecting every dimensions of our life. We have seen release of new seed varieties; new molecules for pesticide, new product formulations, new food launches, new brands in the market, new shapes of packages, more attractive labels, new way of sales promotion and distribution strategy and with all this large number of new players in the market. All these developments have some form of intellectual input and can be protected under intellectual property rights regime.

Many new products or services embody different types of intellectual properties. In order to survive in highly competitive market, forward-looking enterprises face the challenge of how to extract maximum value of their Intellectual property and using it effectively in their business strategy. Companies that allocate time and resources to protect their intellectual property assets can increase their competitiveness in a variety of ways.

Intellectual property protection helps any individual and the company by:

  • Preventing competitors from copying or closely imitating a company’s products or services;
  • Avoiding wasteful investment in research and development (R&D) and marketing
  • Creating a corporate identity through a trademark and branding strategy
  • Negotiating licensing, franchising or other Intellectual property based contractual agreements
  • Increasing the market value of the company
  • Acquiring venture capital and enhancing access to finance
  • Obtaining access to new markets

In addition, enterprises which search systematically for conflicting intellectual property rights of others prior to seeking Intellectual property protection are able to avoid unnecessary litigation, thereby saving time, resources and goodwill.

Benefits of Effectively Managing Intellectual Property

Effective intellectual property management enables companies to use their intellectual property assets to improve their competitiveness and strategic advantage. At the same time, acquiring Intellectual property protection is a crucial initial step, but effective Intellectual property management means more than just protecting an enterprise’s inventions, trademarks, designs, or copyright.

It also involves a company’s ability to commercialize such inventions, market its brands, license its know-how, conclude joint ventures and other contractual agreements involving its intellectual property, and effectively monitor and enforce its intellectual property rights. Indeed, a company’s portfolio of Intellectual property must be viewed as a collection of key assets that add significant value to the enterprise. A very visible example is when a pharmaceutical company gets a patent for its new molecule, its share prices go up.

Food and agriculture companies can also benefit from the wealth of technological and commercial information available in patent and trademark databases to learn about recent technological breakthroughs, identify future partners, and find out about the innovative activities of competitors. Managing Intellectual property effectively and using it to devise business strategies is an increasingly critical task for entrepreneurs worldwide.

If Indian agriculture and food business companies are keen to promote their businesses, it is high time they must learn to operate in knowledge driven economy otherwise either they will looses our intellectual property to the competitors or their competitors will make claim on their intellectual property. The company will then face the legal battle wasting its energy instead of managing business effectively.

The Challenge Ahead for Indian Agriculture and Food Companies

Indian agriculture and food companies may suffer in highly complex and competitive globalized economy because of some of the well known factors as given below:

  • Insufficient information and understanding on the relevance of Intellectual Property in day-to-day business due to ignorance at the decision making level,
  • Lack of willingness to allocate resources for learning about changes in the market and legal system,
  • High costs associated with obtaining and enforcing IP rights,
  • Perceptions that the IP system is difficult to understand, too cumbersome and time-consuming:

These are among the reasons why many agriculture and food companies are sometimes slow to protect their intellectual property assets.

Achievers’ Resources draws upon its experience and expertise in the field of agriculture and food businesses and on Intellectual property related issues to help industry and businesses.

As professional organization to provide knowledge management services and capacity building & training activities dedicated to promote the better business practices to ensure sustainable profitability, we keep updating our knowledge and database for the creation, use, and protection of intellectual property in agriculture and food businesses.

In case of any clarification, kindly continue to contact us at the given email address or you can also write to editor regarding your query.

Before we close this series let us thank all our readers for their valuable inputs from time-to-time.

We wish you all the best and request you to manage your intellectual property efficiently and effectively because a good idea can be worth billion dollars and these billion dollars can be yours.

What next

The new series of articles covering all the issues and important international and national issues and opportunities in food marketing and retailing is going to be published from next issue. Readers can send any specific suggestion on the any of the topic related to food Marketing & Retailing.

 

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