Startups and SMEs have access to limited resources and undertake tremendous risks in their business ventures. However, they remain susceptible and vulnerable to exploitation by larger enterprises.
- By Rashi Dhir
The Indian government recently launched an e-learning platform, L2Pro for educating and increasing awareness among startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on Intellectual Property (IP) laws and rights. The platform developed by the Government of India in collaboration with Qualcomm and National Law University, Delhi, will have eleven modules. Each module will comprise of text for understanding IP concepts, short animated videos of the concepts, links to additional resources, quizzes for assessment and e-certificates on successful completion. The platform will be available in two formats: a website and a mobile app compatible with both Android and iOS.
L2Pro is aimed at educating and aiding entrepreneurs and SMEs in understanding and protecting their IP Rights, integrating IP into their business models and maximizing and preserving the value of their innovation and research & development efforts. The platform has been customized for the Indian market subsequent to similar efforts in countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy, where it successfully demonstrated its ability to assist SMEs and startups in protecting, developing and commercializing their IP.
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There are numerous reasons that support the government’s initiative. For instance, the SME sector alone is critical for Indian economy given that the sector contributes around 30 per cent towards GDP and employs around 40 per cent of the Indian workforce. The platform will also boost the government’s Startup India and Make in India initiatives that are aimed towards encouraging entrepreneurship within the country and promoting India as a startup hub across the world.
Startups and SMEs have access to limited resources and undertake tremendous risks in their business ventures. However, they remain susceptible and vulnerable to exploitation by larger enterprises that have the means and wherewithal to easily copy, manufacture, and market innovation and ideas of startups and SMEs. This is extremely discouraging and frustrating for startups and SMEs that lose the opportunity to benefit from a commercially viable innovation that may have taken a considerable amount of time, effort and one’s own money to develop.
The e-learning platform is a laudable effort by the Government to support and empower entrepreneurs who are engines of change for the Indian economy. The platform will act as an empowering tool, instil confidence and provide guidance to startups and SMEs to equip themselves with the knowledge required to secure their intangible and valuable IP assets, that are often core to their business and prone to infringement.
The world is at the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution where innovation is a key driver for any successful startup and SME in India. A robust and incentivizing innovation environment in India will encourage youth, innovators and entrepreneurs to come up with solutions to countless fundamental problems that plague India and impact the majority of not just Indian population but also the population of other developing and under-developed nations.
With launch of L2Pro, the government is incentivizing and supporting innovators and entrepreneurs to focus on coming up with innovative solutions without plaguing their minds with IP related challenges, making India a robust startup hub and creating a positive outlook by focusing not only on introducing laws but also providing useful infrastructure and tools for creating awareness about laws. The platform is a well-meaning and positive initiative to ensure that startups and SMEs flourish and value of their intangible IP assets generated through entrepreneurial efforts is not only secured and maximized but also leads to commercial success. It is not only a tool but a statement that we all stand with our entrepreneurs who have the courage to find innovative solutions for the betterment of our society and the world at large.
(Rashi Dhir is the Senior Partner & Head of Corporate at DMD Advocates. Views expressed are the author’s own.)