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Role of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Technology Advancements

In the era of globalization, the rate of adoption of technology is growing at an exponential rate. The companies are creating revolutionary technologies to meet the articulated and latent demand. In the technology lifecycle, development of product and its technology is critical to the success of the company. In a fiercely competitive market, innovation and creativity aids companies to outdo the competitors and gain completive edge in the marketplace. Continuous evolution of newer technologies is pivotal for the economic growth and development.

Rapid strides and advancements have led to innovation in diverse sectors, thus opening the door for opportunities. In this information age, companies are experiencing rapid advances in the technology sector, thus urging them to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. The rapid advancements are reshaping the competition leading to disruptive innovation. For instance, developments taking place in the telecommunication industry had put pressure on telecom services providers to make investments in upgrading their networks and develop revenue streams. Advancements in the field of technology have changed the way businesses were done in the past. Due to accelerating technological advancements, technology companies are grappling with an urgent need to protect their inventions from potential infringers. From banking to retail to health care, technology has enabled a fundamental change in business processes, operations, and product development. From large organizations to new age startups are realizing the need to manage and monetize their intellectual property assets. A requisite IP knowledge or expertise is required to effectively manage IP in both defensive and offensive strategies.

Innovation is the lifeline of every industry and advances in technology had led to transformation in the industry. Intellectual property rights are important for high-tech companies as the products or services are prone to infringement, thus it is necessary for them to protect their inventions. Many technology companies are prone to thefts especially software piracy. The technology industry has already been littered with the sagas of many companies that have been sued for infringement of intellectual property rights. Technology giants such as Google, IBM, Apple, and Microsoft are using patents to drive commercialization of their intellectual property assets. Technology companies or non-practicing entities (NPEs) hold large patent portfolios in order to earn revenue through patent licensing or litigation. This has resulted in patent battles among companies in suing infringers that may be within their sphere of patent claims. The technological transformation has led companies to understand the nuances of intellectual property through a contemporary lens.

Given the pace of technological changes, many companies are developing open and collaborative innovation models, thus blurring the geographical boundaries and giving rise to IP ownership, sharing, and licensing. With patent filing activity by large technology companies is on the rise, companies are utilizing and deploying, thus changing the dynamism of the marketplace. In a bid to spread the boundaries of technologies, companies are implementing an effective IP strategy and making informed business decisions. It will be of no value to enter a particular technology domain with proper understanding of the technology and IP protection. In addition to this, the IP strategy should be in tandem with the business goals of the company. A company should evaluate the white spaces or gaps in the particular technology domain and understand the IP landscape prior to making investments in the technology. A company should evaluate the whether it can compete with other players through offensive and defensive IP strategies. It is critical to understand the strategies and tactics for deploying an effective IP management. IP is no longer separate from the corporate strategy and has to be in line with business goals to ensure commercial success of the company.

Intellectual property rights can help technology companies not only in protecting their invention but also monetizing them. IP management has gone beyond merely protecting company’s invention but act as a catalyst to monitor competitor’s patent filing. Technology companies should identify trends and monitor competitor’s patent filings activity in order to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace. Identifying white spaces and filing patents can help companies to prevent others to enter the space. In the past years, IP-related activities have gained importance to drive mergers and acquisition activities, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, develop business partnerships, and block current and future competitors.

With the rapidly changing marketplace, technology companies are making investments in the research and development and filing patents to compete in the market. In the globalized age, companies also face a threat from imitators and should have a plan in place to protect their intellectual property assets. The ever increasing threat of technological disruption have forced companies to embrace effective IP strategy in order to safeguard their invention and identify opportunities for the purpose of licensing and cross-licensing negotiations. Intellectual property has become a core competence for technology companies as they are considered as a source of competitive advantage and revenue. In addition to this, high-tech companies should develop a quality patent portfolio by protecting their core technologies and business methods and respond to changes in the marketplace by acquiring or partnering with other companies.To sum up, intellectual property must be considered strategically to survive in the competitive world.

The writer is Mr Amit Aggarwal, Co-Founder, Effectual Knowledge Services.

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