How did you come to work in intellectual property – and what advice do you have for anyone considering the same career?
Honestly, it was not a planned move. Being a telecom engineer, I was always inclined to work in a field where I am able to implement my technical knowledge. Incidentally, an opportunity in intellectual property diverted my career after an initial start in an altogether different sphere.
I have always believed intellectual property to be the best career option for a technology student as it is a conglomeration of technology, law and business. In addition to learning new technologies, a patent researcher gains the opportunity of understanding a holistic view of the business lifecycle of technology companies. They are also involved at decision-making levels and help to strategise the current and future moves of the companies. I firmly recommend it to anyone who has the zeal to get acquainted with the technology developments across the globe.
Why should companies invest in patent research?
With the expanding use of technology in almost every sphere of life, companies are investing considerably in developing new products and services. It could be injudicious and catastrophic for a company to disclose their technology and products in the public domain without providing a blanket of IP protection.
Patent research not only helps to develop a powerful patent portfolio to protect technology inventions, but also helps to mitigate the potential risk of infringing the patent rights of another party. Moreover, a thoroughly researched and well-planned monetisation of patent portfolios through licensing and sale can be a parallel source of revenue for a company. Patent analysis of the technology domain and competitors may also produce significant insights for R&D investments and future products. In a nutshell, patent research is an important tool of management decision making at the highest levels in an organisation.
What for you are the key ingredients of a world-class IP strategy?
A world-class IP strategy should contain defensiveness and aggressiveness in proper proportion. The company ought to blend its inventive and creative ideas, products, trademarks and tradenames, source codes, documents, and so forth, as soon as they are developed through various available IP protection tools. A thoroughly researched and well-planned development of the patent portfolio can deliver unprecedented results for a company. We have numerous examples of IP portfolios increasing a company’s valuation manifold.
Many companies, despite having a strong patent portfolio, are unaware of its value, either due to lack of knowledge or because they have a defensive strategic outlook only. An IP-vigilant company should keep itself abreast of the infringement of its protected intellectual property by competitors and third parties. An aggressive IP strategy can unlock huge wealth for a company through out-licensing and sales.
How do you build trust and understanding with clients to ensure that they make the most informed decisions?
The foremost criteria to build trust with clients are, firstly, understanding their actual requirements and delivering utmost quality output. We work with global technology companies and IP firms, as well as individual inventors, and understand that the same requirements from these clients need to be executed differently. The clients trust us not only that they will receive a high-quality report, but also expert and friendly advice on how to perceive and use the results. This strengthens our claim that we are not just a service provider but an IP solution provider.
The trust of our clients is evident from the fact that our business is completely driven by the voluntary reference of our services by our clients in their business networks.
If you could make one change to the Indian patenting landscape, what would it be and do you think that it is likely to happen?
The Indian patenting landscape is evolving with companies and researchers becoming aware of patent significance and requirements. However, patenting activity is still considered as an expenditure rather than as an investment, due to the long timelines involved and a lack of awareness of the potential to monetise patents. Further, patents that are filed without adequate due diligence reduce the final granted numbers, meaning that the R&D expenditure is wasted.
There is a need to increase knowledge of patent processes among technology companies and researchers to enable them to develop efficient IP strategies. The Indian government is incentivising patent filing by individuals and independent researchers, which could play a vital role in improving the country’s patent landscape.
Praveen Goel is founder/CEO of PG Technology Research, which specialises in patent research, development and monetisation services. Mr Goel graduated as an electronics and telecom engineer from Delhi College of Engineering, India. He possesses strong acumen for IP monetisation, working closely with the IP and licensing departments of various technology companies to help them litigate and monetise patent portfolios. Mr Goel is keen to promote IP awareness and regularly conducts sessions for start-ups and researchers.