The Relevance of IP Outsourcing
Over the last decade, offshore outsourcing market has undergone tremendous makeover with increased number of services being added to the offering portfolio. The service offerings can be categorized under three major heads such as technology services, business process outsourcing and Knowledge based services. Technology outsourcing includes application hosting, telecommunication and electronics. The second category includes business support functions across industry verticals. The third category comprises of knowledge based services such as training, research and consultation. Outsourcing involves a lot of knowledge sharing on proprietary grounds across industry verticals and businesses such as trademarks, logo, patents and copyrights. These are known as IP assets and each of these assets are involved in different levels of outsourcing. Furthermore each type of IP asset is bound by its individual national law and is distinct from the other nation. This legal distinction brings in the element of complexity as offshore outsourcing involves multiple partners. With more and more enterprises adopting the method of offshore outsourcing for its cost effective and resource optimization angle, the effective management of the multiple IP assets would call for stringent monitoring.
There are certain IP risks involved in offshore outsourcing and that encompasses various breaches of contract clauses, misuse of IP assets and poor quality of goods and parallel imports. The ownership of IP assets is one of the two major concerns looming over the offshore outsourcing mechanism. In an offshore outsourcing model, it is very important to understand the ownership patterns of the IP assets, created or improved during the outsourcing process. The second critical concern revolves around the disclosure of confidential information and the trade secrets. Generally in any business, the confidential information is safeguarded by getting a NDA signed by the service provider.
As a possible solution to these two major concerns, more and more businesses are installing IP trackers to monitor and prevent information misuse.
The Raging Opportunity
Outsourcing of intellectual property rights majorly involves business support functions. It started with Microsoft taking the lead by hiring Indian IP practitioners for filing patent applications. Gradually other laws firms and organizations followed the lead. With the current market driven by cost effectiveness and process automation, the outsourcing trend is quickly picking up in the intellectual property domain.
The gamut of IP services can be categorized into four major domains such as Patent Map & IT Landscape Analysis, Scientific Intelligence, Design Around & Problem Solving Searches, and Business & Competitive Intelligence, Potential Use Determination, and Portfolio management services. India being a talent rich country proves an apt destination for outsourcing IP strategy and support services. Endowed with state-of-the-art technologies, India has the capacity to deliver ranging from data entry solutions to large turnkey projects. With the IT Act passed in 2000, India has joined the bandwagon of nations that have cyber laws.