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How to File a Patent for Your Invention

How to File a Patent for Your Invention
How to File a Patent for Your Invention Inventors are highly prized in any market, since their work is often the focal point that other infrastructure, marketing, and production coalesce around. But as an inventor, whether in a startup or independently, it is important to make the most of any invention you create. This means protecting your original work legally. In this article, we look at one of the primary tools at the disposal of any inventor: the patent, and how to file one.     Why File a Patent? Patents provide a level of economic security and market edge for their holders. They are specifically designed to incentivize invention and innovation, offering an avenue to significant potential profits for an invention that is patented quickly and correctly. Patents fall under the category of intellectual property (IP) law, and are one of four kinds of IP protection, the others being copyrights, trade secrets, and trademarks. Copyrights cover original creative work, trade secrets involve confidential information that benefits a company competitively, and trademarks protect branding and brand identity. However, patents may be the most powerful intellectual property tool. Holding a patent grants a twenty-year monopoly (in the United States) for the development, production, and sale of the invention in question. This means that no other companies can compete via imitation for this time period, allowing the best possible version of the invention to be produced and sold, gaining more profits by being a unique entity in the market. Filing a patent can make the difference between being swallowed by competitors who have the infrastructure to take your idea and produce it more cheaply or more quickly, and having the time and resources to perfect your invention and get rewarded for its genesis. Sure, the patent filing process is time consuming and costs money, but the potential benefits are immense. Is Your Invention Eligible? The United States Patent & Trademark Office, or USPTO, outlines what is and is not eligible for patenting according to the patent statute codified in federal law. Eligible areas include a process, machine, “article of manufacture” (manufactured product), composition of matter, or “improvement of any of the above,” as well as specific designations for unique plant patents and design patents that govern the nonfunctional design and aesthetic components of a product. So, if your invention happens to be a machine or a composition of matter, is it automatically eligible for a patent? In short, no. There are additional requirements that must be met for patent eligibility. These boil down to usefulness, novelty, and non-obviousness. To have any chance of being granted a patent, the invention in question must be useful. Usefulness here can be very broad and does not only encompass crucial or definitive needs and benefits. Things like entertainment and enjoyment can also qualify as uses. Novelty refers to being sufficiently unique and new in order to deserve a patent. This can often be an issue of contention, with gray areas existing between what constitutes a slight tweak or variation upon an existing idea versus a truly novel improvement. Lastly, being non-obvious may seem quite easy, but this determination usually helps to weed out inventions that are not really inventions but obvious combinations of previously existing factors. Before delving into the patent search and filing process, it may be a good idea to seek out a qualified patent attorney or law firm to determine what the best course of action is, as a professional will better know how your invention might fare.   Picture Courtesy: Taylorip The Patent Search Now that you’ve determined your invention may be patent eligible, it’s time to hone in on the...
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Why Trademark Your Startup?

Why Trademark Your Startup?
Why Trademark Your Startup? Trademarking is very essential to new businesses, but first time entrepreneurs are not adept with the nuances of securing a trademark and often do not realize how vulnerable they are when operating a business without one. Why Trademark Your Startup? It helps protect your business identity It protects against others using the same or similar business name or logo It provides solid proof of your legally protected rights Federal trademark registration rights extend nationwide A trademark registration is an asset (it may be licensed or sold). Registering company names and domain names alone does not provide trademark protection. Must-Know IP Law (Patent, Trademark and Copyright) Beware of mimicking a famous brand; most popular iconic brands such as Coke, McDonald’s and Pepsi are protected by the Trademark Dilution Revision Act. Search Google to see if your intended trademark already exists. Reasons why your trademark may be rejected If it is likely to cause confusion, mistakes or deception with a mark already registered If it simply contains a generic name If it primarily describes or deceptive about the geographic origins of goods and services If it is primarily merely a surname If it is deemed immoral, deceptive or scandalous If it falsely suggests a connection with people, institutions, beliefs or national symbols If it uses the portrait, name or signature of any living person without the approval of the person concerned The Federal Trademark Registration Process 1. Select your trademark 2. Hire a Trademark Attorney Registering a trademark is a LEGAL process with many potential trap doors. Hence, it is advised to hire a trademark attorney to guide you through the trademark search and application process. 3. Availability Search Doing a search by yourself may prove to be disastrous. It is likely you are not familiar with what could create a conflict. A trademark search must be comprehensive and complete to rule out any potential legal conflicts. Doing an inadequate research is a major reason many trademark applications are rejected by the government. Do I Need a Lawyer to Register My Trademark? 4. Application Your attorney will draft and file your application with the USPTO (IN USA) OR THE TRADE MARKS REGISTRY (IN INDIA). If approved you will receive a trademark registration certificate and if refused, you will receive a refusal notice. 5. Monitor and Protect It is your responsibility to monitor and enforce your trademark rights. Failure to monitor can cause complete loss of trademark rights (regardless of having federal registration). COPYRIGHT ...
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International Business Travel Tips

International Business Travel Tips
International Business Travel Tips “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard Whether this is your first time to travel or you’ve traveled for more times than you can count, relax. Business trips can be fun. Of course, you have meetings to attend, business to take care of and employees to follow up with. Work does not mean you cannot see new places and meet new people. If you’re visiting a new city, you should take time to walk around and have fun. Here are the things you need to do to make your trip relaxing. International travel for business can be a very exciting opportunity. You not only get to see new and interesting parts of the world, but you even get paid while doing it. In order to have the best experience possible, there are things you can do in advance to prepare. Here are some invaluable tips to help execute the perfect international business trip. Explore Airbnb  One experience that might be frustrating to many foreign travellers is a procedure called Immigration Check. It is always better to be at the airport atleast three hours ahead of time to complete this gruelling procedure so that you can relax in the lounge. Otherwise you will be made to stand in the long queues testing your patience. Create an Organized itinerary: Plan Your Trip Make sure that your days are packed with opportunities to help your company. Scheduling time for appointments, meetings, and personal time is very important to executing a beneficial international business trip. An itinerary should be a good guide for your trip’s goals and achievements. Because you do not want to waste any time on this trip, it’s better to plan in advance to take full advantage of the opportunity. “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” –Martin Buber The words sound like a no brainer but seriously plan your trip. If you want to have fun, check events, restaurants, and places you are interested to see online and how close they are to where you intend to stay. You don’t want to spend your trip worrying about missing a meeting and definitely not exploring the city’s transportation system. Take some time before you actually travel and plan exactly where you want go. For directions, you can download Tripomatic: Trip Planner. This application comes with maps needed, so download it to your phone and you’re good to good to go. Tripomatic works offline. Learn about the Culture and Customs: Before landing in said country, it’s important to understand the environment, culture and practices of this region. Knowing up-to-date news and information about your international travel destinations will help you avoid inappropriate comments or disrespectful behavior. Not only is it important to understand the culture, but it is also beneficial to know protocols, customs and etiquette as well. This includes things like: common greetings, religious practices, business manners, dietary practices, and acceptable humor. “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener Learn the Native Tongue: While not every business trip requires learning a whole new language, it’s always advisable to seek out some basic vocabulary for the region you are visiting. The use of a translator might be beneficial as well. Communication is a huge part of business and breaking down those barriers will only help you with your business endeavors. “Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have...
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How to Create a Brand Identity?

How to Create a Brand Identity?
What is Brand Identity? Definitions Business Dictionary: The visible elements of a brand (such as colors, design, logotype, name, symbol) that together identify and distinguish the brand in the consumers’ mind. Investopedia: How a business wants a brand’s name, communication style, logo and other visual elements to be perceived by consumers. Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism Model: The brand identity prism by Kapferer describes the brand through six different facets. The identity of a brand describes what makes it stand out and special, as well as the attractiveness of the brand. By the brand’s physique the physical appearance is meant. This includes a prototype of the brand: the product that represents the brand’s qualities. The brand personality connects the brand with human characteristics to differentiate. It is the way a brand speaks to its customers. Every brand tries to build a relationship with its customers. This relationship is more obvious for service brands, but product brands like Porsche and Morgan build relationships with their clients The question here is what role does the brand occupy in the relationship. It could be being a friend or being dominant. The culture of the company is reflected by the values the brand is communicating. Values can be linked for example to the origin of the company and their heritage. The reflection of a brand can be seen as the typical user of the product it is the outward mirror of the brand. It therefore often gets confused with the target market. The self-image is the way customers see themselves when using the brand and how this makes them feel. (Kapferer, 2012)     Pic Courtesy: Marketing91 What are the top 3 things that make customers loyal to a brand? Quality – Quality in business, engineering and manufacturing has a pragmatic interpretation as the non-inferiority or superiority of something; it is also defined as fitness for purpose.  Quality is a perceptual, conditional, and somewhat subjective attribute and may be understood differently by different people. Customer Service – The process of ensuring customer satisfaction with a product or service. Often, customer service takes place while performing a transaction for the customer, such as making a sale or returning an item. Customer service can take the form of an in-person interaction, a phone call, self-service systems, or by other means. Price – For many consumers, price is a very important attribute. The attribute price can indeed be more important on decision making than that of quality, brand name and others. can conclude that consumer consideration to decide product brand is mainly based on price. The main question is how consumer brand decision is effected by price fluctuations. Does consumer move to another brand as price rise? Branding Gone Bad : Pizza Hut Tries to Lose the Pizza For some bizarre reason, Pizza Hut made an attempt to rebrand in 2009 by calling themselves “The Hut.” As a result, the fast food chain received a significant amount of ridicule from the public, and had to revert back to the original name. Although the company may deny rumors regarding the name change, photographic evidence of the redesigned logo are still circulating online. When British Airways Removed the Union Jack In 1997, British Airways executive Bob Ayling stated, “Perhaps we need to lose some of our old-fashioned Britishness and take on board some of the new British traits.” The company then embarked on a project that saw the Union Jack tail fin flag being replaced with other designs. After receiving numerous complaints from customers, this decision was reversed in 2001 when Ayling was replaced by Rod Eddington, and the Union Jack was once again painted on the fleet’s tail fins. Source: Six Examples of Branding...
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Sole Proprietorship

Sole Proprietorship
Sole Proprietorship – Features and Advantages Sole Proprietorship is a business owned and controlled by only one person. The proprietor who sows, reaps and harvests the output of his labor owns all the assets in his firm. This form of business organization is one of the most popular forms in India and the reason being the advantages it offers. Here, business can be started simply after obtaining necessary manufacturing license and permit. Setting up Process: Setting up a sole proprietorship entity is trouble-free as compared to other form of companies. Unlike Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or any other private or public companies; in sole proprietorship you do not need to file an application to ROC- Registrar of Companies. You need to choose a name for your business, open a bank account and take license for varied services including Service Tax, VAT, IEC, Shops & Establishment license, PAN, Importer Exporter Code, ESI, Professional Tax, Central Excise Duty, CST Registration, Employee Provident Fund Registration etc. After acquiring the respective licenses one can commence with his her sole proprietorship firm in India. Some important licenses you may need for starting a sole proprietorship firm in India: PAN CARD Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a ten-digit alphanumeric number, issued in the form of a laminated card, by the Income Tax Department. It is mandatory to quote PAN on return of income, all correspondence with any income tax authority. A typical PAN is AABPS1205E. A complete overview of pancard  can be seen at – http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/pan/overview.asp New PAN CARD application – https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/ TAN CARD Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN) is an alphanumeric number issued to individuals who are required to deduct tax on payments made by them under the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961. The Tax Deducted at Source on payments made by assessees has to be deposited under the following number to enable the assessees who have received the payments to claim the tax deducted in their income tax return. So TAN is the abbreviation for Tax deduction and collection Account Number. Application for tan card – https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/tan/ SERVICE TAX REGISTRATION Service tax has to be paid to the Government of India by the service provider who collects the same form his customers. As on 1st May, 2006,   95 services are identified as taxable services in India.  Section 64 of the Finance Act, 1994, extends the levy of service tax to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu & Kashmir. The current rate is 12.36 % on the gross value of the service. Service tax can be paid online – https://www.aces.gov.in/ VAT AND CST VAT (Value Added Tax) is a form of indirect tax imposed only on goods sold within a particular state, which essentially means that the buyer and the seller exist in the same state. Only when tangible goods and products are sold, VAT can be imposed. VAT (Value Added Tax) is governed by respective state Acts. Every state has a separate and distinct VAT act reserved for their state. CST (Central Sales Tax) is a form of indirect tax imposed only on goods sold from one state to another state, which particularly takes into account that the buyer and the seller exist in two different states. CST (Central Sales Tax) is governed by Central Sales Tax Act, 1956. This tax is governed by a single central act, though the chargeability is state specific. Registration for VAT AND CST IN Tamil Nadu – http://www.tnvat.gov.in/English/NewDealerRegist.aspx THE BUSINESS VIABILITY CHECKLIST FOR ENTREPRENEURS IMPORT EXPORT CODE: DGFT – Directorate General of Foreign Trade runs various schemes for trade promotion and facilitation. Using this facility you may file, prepare and track online application in...
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