IPFC for MSMEs: Safeguard your intellectual property | SupportBiz

Managing Growth

IPFC for MSMEs: Safeguard your intellectual property

In India, innovation is often treated as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Intellectual property (IP) should be considered an asset by medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs). IP rights are recognized and offered protection by law. Further to this, the Union government sponsored Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre (IPFC) for MSMEs aims to promote innovation and IP awareness among MSMEs, so that they can be globally compliant.

Why should you protect your IP?

MSMEs should make it a best practice to patent and protect infringement of their IP. Indian law grants IP owners exclusive rights to license the manufacture and distribution of their innovations, and pursue legal recourse in the event of copying of IP including copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design and other trade secrets. While IP could be an important part of a company's 
What role does the IPFC play?
The IPFC for MSMEs was established by the National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ni-msme) in 2009-10, under the aegis of the MSME Development Commissioner, Ministry of MSME. The centre provides assistance to MSMEs in promoting innovation and niche products/services. MSMEs are registered by the IPFC for the filing of IP Tools, with certain incentives from the Indian government in order to make it more cost effective.
The centre has access to global IP databases and MSMEs can make use of the most up-to-date data tools to that end. Details of IP submissions are maintained under strict non-disclosure agreements. It acts as an IP repository for MSMEs in the country.
The facility aims to promote regularization under the World Trade Organization's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (WTO-TRIPS) regime under the Uruguay Round of agreements. India is a signatory to the WTO and its IP regime is mandated to converge with the global system.
The IPFC assists MSMEs by assisting with (according to the ni-msme/IPFC site)
  • Intellectural property rights (IPR) awareness campaigning and training (domestic and international). IPR information and advisory services to create an IP ecosystem which would enhance the intellectual capital for the growth of MSMEs.
  • Drafting and preparation of specifications for IPR applications.
  • Filing of applications for patents, trademarks, copyrights and GIs with follow up services.
  • Partners with MSMEs in India and abroad to introduce IP management within the enterprise.
The IPFC also provides MSMEs the following services (according to the ni-msme/IPFC site)
  • Provides IPR awareness, training, protection, information and advisory services, through empanelled advocates and attorneys, specializing in IP Laws for filing (national and international level), protection and litigation matters.
  • Identifies areas of IP services and providers for MSMEs.
  • Facilitates e-mail alerts for members about the latest developments in the field of IPR at national and global level.
  • Publishes the quarterly IPFC 'e-news letter'.
How do you become a member?
IPFC membership is open to individuals, entrepreneurs, industry and trade bodies/associations, consultants and consulting firms, and lawyers. The Annual Membership fee is INR1,000 for micro and small enterprises, INR2,000 for individuals, INR5,000 for medium enterprises and industry associations.