Small and Medium Enterprises

Small and medium enterprises have been continuously striving to attain the market position. Amidst the pandemic situations, it is certainly a difficult task. To achieve profit and accomplishing goals, these SMEs have to understand and acknowledge the importance of IPR in their business.

Considering the world progressing towards a knowledge and innovation-driven society, Intellectual property (IP) needs and importance for the growth avenues can be a magical boon for these enterprises. No doubt, IP will provide an emerging platform in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector to enhance their business and development opportunities.

SMEs – in a nutshell

By understanding the Indian industrial sector, it can be ascertained that Small & Medium Enterprises are the strong pillars of the Indian manufacturing sector. They contribute to the major GDP growth of the economy. Therefore, it would be feasible for the companies to invest in their IP Assets to exploit them at their own pace commercially. The benefits of IP to various industries are no hidden fact, and it is always believed that the best players in the market are the ones who never let any opportunities slip away. Investment in IPR will certainly increase growth opportunities for all these sectors.

Statistically speaking, in 2020, the total number of MSMEs in the country was more than 63 million. The majority comprised micro-enterprises, wherein rural areas dominated the urban areas in terms of establishments.

IP can assist SMEs to grow and develop globally as big as their competitors in all aspects of their business. IP will assist SMEs in developing their industry and aggressive management policy. Undoubtedly, IP rights can improve and enhance business value through Mergers & Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, and various collaboration schemes.

A potential IP right may open the door to various financial institutions, venture capitalists, and the banking sector for SMEs to enhance their growth and help financially.

SME Checklist:

Have you got your IPR Right – For all the SMEs out there, check for these before you proceed!!

  1. Are Your Patents Protected?
  2. Have patent rights been put in right prospects to ensure patentability of all core inventions, including opposition filings where relevant?
  3. Did you trace your Trademark?
  4. Has the company or product’s brand and visual appearance been protected as trademark/design rights in all key jurisdictions?
  5. Is your Portfolio Check done right?
  6. Where does your IP sit about competitor activity – does the portfolio need to be reinforced with additional filings?
  7. Have you analyzed the strength and weakness of the  IP portfolio impact concerning your business’s value and potential?
  8. Market Watch and Analyse
  9. How crowded are the market and technology space for any new/core inventions – is there a risk of a third-party infringement claim?
  10. Does additional IP exist in the business that has yet to be protected?

Importance of IPR for SME’s:

IPR is one of the most versatile assets of the business. As much as it plays an important role in the growth of a business, its value is undermined by many SMEs. Here are few reasons why SMEs should give undivided attention to the IPR.

  • Enhances Brand Worthiness of the SME in the eyes of the Investor.
  • Chances of losing the good and protectable invention to larger competitors, if not protected on time.
  •  Turn ideas into profitable business assets for better growth opportunities.
  • Source of Income for the SME through licensing, sale, or commercialization of the IP products or services
  • Helps in creating a brand image for your business in the minds of your current and potential customers.

Challenges faced by SME

Due to tough liberalization norms, this industry faces competition from global counterparts, which has pulled away SMEs from IPR awareness and knowledge. Major Challenges faced by SMEs are:

  • Low consciousness of the value of the IP system as an important asset.
  • Limited access to the necessary human possessions to develop the IP avenue
  • Fake and Counterfeit goods challenges
  • Insights that the IP system is esoteric, too unwieldy, and laborious.
  • Incomplete knowledge of the ins and outs of the IP system

How IP Helps Small & Medium Enterprises

  • IPR aids SMEs in every part of business development and competitive strategy
  • SMEs help identification of various avenues for development. For Example: Improvising SMEs’ market values and competitiveness by generating an income for SME through IP assignments of IP protected products.
  • IP helps enhance the value or worth of the company in the eyes of investors and financial institutions. At the time of sale or merger and acquisitions, IP assets play an important role in increasing the SME’s value to a certain level, which cannot be achieved without considering IP assets.
  • Optimum  IP management allows the companies to recover their IP system properly and profitably. In the initial stage, acquiring IP may sometimes be crucial and costly, but it profits a lot for a company if started systematically. It involves a company’s ability to commercialize their inventions, market their brands and license them to know how to other companies.

A way out-the solution:

Some of the major steps are as follows:

  • Awareness programs on IPR
  • Interactive seminars/workshops on specific issues like patents, trademarks, copyrights, industrial design, trade secrets, and geographical indications, etc.
  • Setting up of Intellectual Property Advisory Cell
  • Specialized training on IPR related issues for the entrepreneurs/ officers, members of industry associations
  • Financial assistance on grant of patent

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