What are the key ingredients of a winning IP strategy?
Intellectual property is a tool. It is a recognition, a security, an enabler, a differentiator – and a good IP strategy must involve using intellectual property for all these purposes. IP rights should not only be used as insurance against market attacks on it but also as a weapon that enables violations to be stopped. When intellectual property stands out, it also transacts through higher margins or an economic moat and attracts licensing and collaborations. A good strategy must evolve with the times. It must anticipate not only growth but future growth and be positioned for this. It must assess risks of obsolescence or theft including within the set up. It must assess titles, be consistent and scalable and it should embrace an ease of conversion with new technologies.
As an acclaimed IP strategist, what are your predictions and expectations for the future of intellectual property as a business asset?
Gone are the days when trademarks, patents, copyrights and all other categories of intellectual property were only considered to be legal matters that were entrusted to corporate lawyers, while strategising and building roadmaps for growth were the responsibility of CEOs. Today, business leaders across the globe are becoming increasingly IP savvy and acknowledging that intellectual assets hold greater value than physical assets in the quest for competitive advantage.
This cognisance of the importance of intellectual property promises innovation at an unprecedented pace. To stay ahead of the curve, businesses must keep innovating to include new products and services to their offerings, explore new avenues to expand sales and chart new markets beyond geographical barriers. They will need to keep identifying new ways to harness the full potential of their intellectual property – to do so, they will have to effectively evaluate and manage their IP portfolios to ensure that these are fully aligned with their business goals.
The robust defence of trademarks, patents and copyrights will enable businesses to relish the fruits of their innovations by commercialising them in the marketplace. IP assets will carry a significant percentage of a business’s valuation, promising a remarkable return on investment and an edge over competitors.
You play a prominent role in various industry bodies – including INTA’s Presidential Task Force and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s IP Rights Committee. What value do such organisations bring to the wider IP ecosystem?
INTA is the voice for brand owners and brand innovators across the globe. This non-profit organisation is highly regarded and trusted for its advocacy of brands’ social and economic value. When INTA elected me as a member of its Presidential Task Force, its objective of examining the complexities of brand valuation resonated with my focus to help businesses realise their full revenue potential by unleashing the power of intangibles and nurturing their IP potential. I readily agreed to be a part of this incredible team to work towards the common goal of researching and developing robust mechanisms to equip businesses with strategies that ensure optimal IP utilisation and to make various stakeholders aware of the indispensability of IP rights.
The Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s IP Rights Committee is the voice of the Indian industries. It works to raise IP awareness among various stakeholders in the Indian IP ecosystem and has elected a pool of IP professionals whose expertise is used with the goal of developing a robust IP framework that will facilitate innovation, create employment and boost economic growth – a must for a developing country such as India.
I am also co-chair of the IP rights committee of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, which is diving deep into industry-specific IP issues and trying to customise solutions.
How has the Indian IP monetisation landscape changed over the last five years – and what further changes do you expect to see?
India is witnessing a paradigm shift towards innovations and entrepreneurship, backed by the government’s robust campaign for home-grown goods, as well as strong IP laws, which are rapidly evolving. With the country embracing cutting- edge technological advancements and a growing hunger among consumers, the Indian subcontinent offers incredible opportunities for IP creation, protection, commercialisation and monetisation. Indian innovators are increasingly taking cognisance of the fact that their intellectual property is an asset that holds immense potential for revenue and therefore their constant mission is to unleash the power of intangibles and monetise them by nurturing untapped IP potential.
Safir Anand is senior partner and head of trademarks and contractual and commercial intellectual property at Anand and Anand. He represents clients from diverse industries and provides strategic solutions to multidimensional business requirements – brand creation, valuation, risk mitigation, licensing and franchising, corporate taxation, brand protection from dilution, commercialisation and monetisation, and due diligence.
Click here to see his IAM 300 2020 profile.