Empowering Startups with Patents and Trademarks: Insights from Chirag Tanna
Are you a startup or an entrepreneur planning to venture out and create something new and exciting? It is essential to safeguard your innovative ideas and creations through patents and trademarks. In today's competitive market, protecting your business and staying ahead of the game is more important than ever.
In an enlightening interview with Chirag Tanna, a renowned expert in intellectual property, we were given valuable insights into the intriguing world of patents and trademarks. With his extensive knowledge and experiences, Chirag discussed about his journey, dispelled common misconceptions, and emphasized the impact of safeguarding intellectual property rights. He also shared invaluable advice for those startups looking to succeed in the entrepreneurial world.
A Serendipitous Path to Intellectual Property
Chirag revealed that his interest in patents and trademarks was sparked by a fortuitous encounter. While pursuing his Master's in Biomedical Engineering, he stumbled upon a job listing for a trainee patent agent. “This is when I picked up the phone after classes and spoke with the advertiser and asked them, in detail, what does this job entail." Chirag's thoughts started brewing and decided to delve deeper into the field of Intellectual Property Rights after his Master's degree. Following his intuition, Chirag found his calling and embarked on a career dedicated to safeguarding intellectual property rights.
Chirag discussed common misconceptions regarding patents and trademarks. One of these misconceptions is that the boundaries defined in patent acts may not align with innovative ideas people come up with. Similarly, owning a monopoly through trademark acts can be challenging due to restrictions on brand names. He even highlighted that patent and trademark rights do not give individuals the right to practice, but rather provide a way to prevent others from using protected subject matter.
Empowering Startups through Intellectual Property Protection
Chirag showed enthusiasm for helping startups safeguard their intellectual property. He acknowledged that startups are now the birthplace of much intellectual property, which fosters innovation and creativity. “Now, it is startups (whether they have spun off of universities or not). People have a cool idea (whether it is tech or non-tech); and they start working on their start-up.”
The emergence of intellectual property rights in these dynamic ventures is something that Chirag has seen as crucial in shaping the future.
Influential Role of Startups in Patents and Trademarks
Startup businesses, according to Chirag, have a significant impact on the community as they promote innovation and creativity. “They shape the future; they live it, breathe it, enable it, enforce it”, he says. By introducing groundbreaking ideas and protecting their intellectual property rights, these ventures make lasting contributions towards shaping the future.
Enjoying the Patent and Trademark Filing Process
Sharing his personal experience of finding enjoyment in the patent and trademark filing process, Chirag disclosed a unique habit of listening to specific songs that help him align his thoughts and stimulate his creativity when working on patent matters. “So, more often than not, you will always find me with headphones on when drafting patent matters.”
This practice helps him concentrate and capture the essence of the intellectual property he is working with.
Amusing and Unforgettable Encounter with Trademark Application
Chirag reminisced about a trademark application that made quite an impression on him and brought humor to his day.
“The mark in Hindi language, "PAANI SE PANGA MAT LO" (which means "Don't Go To War With Water"), was able to move through the application process without issue, despite being quite descriptive”, he recalls.
Chirag pondered that perhaps the patriotic nature of the mark and the mood of the Examiner may have positively influenced its easy approval, “I am sure the jingoism appealed to the Examiner and that the Examiner, who allowed it, was in a good mood.”
Inspiring Moments with Underprivileged Startups
Chirag shared a heartwarming story of working with less-privileged children to help them protect their start-ups. Their unwavering determination and spirit were evident, showcasing how resilient these young entrepreneurs truly are.
Highlighting their journey, there was a touching video where the children, due to their lack of access to modern technology, took a unique approach. Instead of the standard computerized slides, they illustrated their ideas on chart papers. One child would explain the details of a drawing, while another would hold it up for the audience. This video perfectly encapsulates Chirag's experience, showing the raw determination of these underprivileged children and their ability to adapt and persevere despite their circumstances.
Upon witnessing this, Chirag expressed, “I was just stumped looking at the effort and enthusiasm of making a presentation without computer and PowerPoints which we have learnt to take for granted since the last 20 years.” This profound statement highlights how many of us have become accustomed to certain conveniences, often forgetting the struggles of those who do not have the same access.
Navigating the Evolving Landscape of Intellectual Property Laws
To keep up with the ever-changing laws and regulations related to intellectual property, Chirag has a simple but powerful approach: “Read, Read, Read, and then read some more.”
He always makes sure to have a good amount of reading material with him, even on flights where he can dive deeper into the subject matter. By constantly seeking knowledge, Chirag remains informed on the latest developments. “I have 500 tabs open on my iPhone; which is when I realized that that is the maximum number of tabs that one can open on a iPhone”, he added.
Chirag’s Advice for Startups
Chirag provided valuable advice to startups on patents and trademarks: “The best method to predict the future is to invent it! And the best way to own the invention is to protect it!”
He also urged startups to conduct comprehensive intellectual property searches, acknowledging others' expertise, and seeking professional help when needed. “Do your Intellectual Property Right Search (IPR) (because) people are smarter and faster than you. Do not gloat (because) people are better listeners than you think. Seek Professional Help (because) you cannot and should not do everything by yourself.”
Chirag's advice can be summarized in three concise phrases: Invent the Future, Conduct Your Research, and Seek Professional Help. He gave us a more profound insight into the world of patents and trademarks dispelling myths while emphasizing the importance of startups in the field of intellectual property.
Chirag's steadfast commitment to preserving innovation and encouraging creativity is a remarkable source of inspiration for entrepreneurs beginning their intellectual property journey.
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