Patent Business Lawyer in Asia

Patent Attorney practicing Patents, Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions, Venture Financing, Startup Technology Law

Mobile based payments using smartphone applications and handheld devices has resulted in a striving competition between financial institutions (banks), technology corporations (Apple, Google, Samsung) and startups (PayPal, PayTM, MobiKwik). Consequently, number of patents filed in FinTech sector have increased exponentially across the globe indicating strong propagation of innovative FinTech solutions worldwide.

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As per views of FinTech patent experts, patent attorneys, corporate law firms and technology lawyers, extensive investment has been done in the research and development (R&D) to bring new technology and products to the market across the globe. FinTech patents have been filed in aplenty by both tech startups and conventional financial institutions (financial service firms, banks etc.).

Launch of new and innovative smartphone applications (mobile apps) in financial technology sector indicates a dynamic shift in consumer behavior while availing financial services across broad range of sectors, such as, for example, banking, investment management, insurance, lending, digital and mobile payments, capital markets, credit risk assessment, financial advisory, accounting, taxation etc.

Analysis of FinTech patent landscape reveals that major patent filers are from US, China, UK and Europe, while leading patent players include traditional financial institutions like Visa, Mastercard, Bank of America, Barclays, Vodafone etc, and technology companies like Facebook, Apple and Google.

After reviewing relevant patent classifications, it can be determined that most of the innovations for which FinTech patents are filed include customer identity verification, biometrics, digital currencies, cryptocurrency, mobile applications, mobile apps, mobile platform, cloud computing, blockchain, Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), big data, P2P transfer, mobile wallets, and the like.

What are Blockchain and Bitcoin?

Blockchain is world’s leading software platform for digital assets that includes a decentralized digital database to facilitate secure online transactions. Multiple legal issues can impact the Blockchain technology at present and in near future. With regards to cryptocurrencies like bitcoins, Blockchain provides a safe digital ledger for the bitcoin network. Hence, bitcoin can be termed as a digital currency (cryptocurrency) experiment resulting from Blockchain innovation. In May 2017, bitcoin surged to record high of $2900.

In coming years, majority of banks and financial institutions will use Blockchain technology for commercial contracts and transactions. For example, Dubai Blockchain Strategy aims to establish a roadmap for issuing all government documents on Blockchain by 2020.

This has led to inception of another term, “Internet of Agreements”, which implies use of technology to deliver machine-to-machine handling of agreements for international business transactions. Accordingly, Blockchain is bound to impact technology solutions for banks, insurance companies and financial corporations.

Bitcoin Laws – Role of Bitcoin Lawyer

Bitcoin’s evolution from Blockchain technology has resulted in certain laws and regulations, however, case laws and regulations for virtual currency (digital currency) are emerging with time as no fixed laws exist at present. Consequently, entrepreneurs, fintech startups and businesses have to focus on compliance, money laundering regulations, etc.

Blockchain Laws – Role of Blockchain Lawyer

Applications can be used to determine ownership, chain of transactions, authentication, identity validation, digital evidence and discovery. Accordingly, multiple legal issues can arise pertaining to data security, criminal activity, prevention of theft, black marketing, malware, money laundering, data privacy, protection and infringement of intellectual property rights, including, software patents, mobile app patents, hardware patents, bitcoin patents, fintech patents, Blockchain patents, copyrights, trademarks and design patents.

What is a patent?

Patent is a legal right granted by government for an invention. The patent rights are granted to inventors and applicants for 20 years from the date of the filing of first patent application. The right granted to patent owners is a negative right, which implies that the patent owner has the exclusive right to prevent patent infringement, i.e. to stop third parties from making, using, selling, offering for sale and/or importing any product or technology protected by the claims of the patent.

What are patent claims?

A patent application includes multiple elements, and patent claims form the heart of the patent invention as legal protection is granted for features included in the patent claims. Generally, patent claims are drafted by experienced patent attorney to describe the invention being protected. To ensure that patents are registered after passing the legal eligibility test of patentability, patent attorneys ensure that the claims are drafted in a manner such as to describe an invention that is new, useful and non-obvious in view of the “prior art”, wherein prior art refers to all the public knowledge and inventions that existed before the filing date of the patent application.

What does a patent protect?

A patent protects the functionality of an invention, which is extremely crucial in case of technology solutions embodied over Internet by way of handheld devices, such as, smartphones and tablets. In case of mobile app patents, execution of novel applications across the communication network can be protected by way of patents by focusing on a combination of software and hardware implemented aspects of the invention, which are written in the requisite details in the patent description along with a strong set of patent claims drafted thoroughly by the patent lawyer.

Why are patents important for technology companies?

Patents form a valuable component of a company’s intangible assets and investors consider patents as true strength of innovative technology companies. Patents signify that companies have strong and defensible business model that cannot be easily replicated by the competitors. A proactive and well formulated patent strategy results in robust investment prospects for early stage technology companies and tech startups.

Journey of my blog from LinkedIn to 30+ news portals

Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at info (at) techcorplegal (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter

Flagship Speaking Engagements

Patent Forum (Munich, Germany) | News Channels | Ministry of Corporate Affairs | ASSOCHAM | FICCI | Brand Licensing India | BioEnergy International

Featured Publications

Economic Times | The Hindu | BioSpectrum | International Bar Association | LawAsia | SwissInfo | Global Legal Post | HT Live Mint | Outlook Money

Startup deals across various business and technology sectors are exposed to legal and regulatory landscape at various levels. Venture capital is constantly powering private equity investments through venture funding by VC firms and angel investments by angel investors.

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Indian government under the leadership of PM Modi has announced Startup India Action Plan and Policy, which includes multiple tax incentives, RBI incentives, incentives for ease of doing business in India, Intellectual Property Rights Incentives to file patents and trademarks via IP Facilitators etc.

Originally published here.

A crucial step for startup includes incorporation of the legal entity in India for doing business. Structuring of a startup business can follow different models, including, global business led by intellectual property, investments by promoters outside India, conducting business using offshore company in India, etc.

Most preferred legal entity for doing business in India is a private limited company, which can be incorporated under the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013. Startups can select between a private company that requires at least two directors or a one person company (OPC), which requires one director. Once a company is incorporated, post incorporation steps are required as guided by a chartered accountant (CA) and a corporate lawyer.

If business includes providing services to consumers, limited liability partnership (LLP) can be incorporated having two or more partners, who can be individuals or corporate entities.

While doing business, startup needs to execute various legal agreements and contracts, including, confidentiality & non-disclosure agreement (NDA), offer letter, employment agreements, non-competition agreements, non-solicitation agreements, intellectual property (IP) assignment agreements, employee stock options (ESOPs) plans, investment agreements, shareholder agreements, founders agreement, term sheet, and advisor agreements.

For startups conducting online business using internet, websites and mobile apps, additional measures are required for risk management, including IT Act Compliance, Content Regulation, Online Payment Gateways etc.

Startups leveraging intellectual property can secure corresponding IP rights (IPR) by way of filing patents, trademarks, copyrights and industrial designs in India and abroad under various mechanisms as allowed by WIPO, such as, the patent cooperation treaty (PCT), Madrid Protocol etc.

Lawyers with expertise in corporate law keep a track of startup developments worldwide along with niche across different technology sectors, including, but not limited to, Enterprise Infrastructure, Enterprise Applications, Internet of Things (IoT), Wearable Technology, Smart Homes, Smart Cars, Smart Cities, Semiconductors, 3D Printing, Consumer Robotics, Industrial Robotics, Drones, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Space Technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Advanced Materials, Chatbots, Display Technology, Marketplaces, Hyperlocal Delivery startups, Food Tech, Auto Tech, Online Travel, Logistics tech, Real Estate Tech, Online Retail, eCommerce, Online Grocery, Mobile Commerce, FinTech (Financial Technology), Mobile Communication, Online Dating, Matchmaking, Sports Tech, Wedding Tech, Mobile Gaming, Fashion Tech, Mobile Apps, Social Networking, Social Platforms, Big Data, Mobile Payments, Mobile Advertising, Payments, Crowdfunding, Bitcoin, Finance & Accounting, AdTech, HealthTech, Mobile Health, Telemedicine, Fitness & Wellness, Healthcare Information Technology (IT), Healthcare Analytics, Biotech, Pharma, Life Sciences, Medical Devices, Energy, CleanTech, Telecom and SaaS (Software as a Service).

Rahul Dev, Partner at the law firm of Tech Corp Legal LLP, is a patent attorney and international technology business lawyer. Dev’s corporate law practice is aimed at integrating patents, technology laws, intellectual property rights, regulatory and security laws to provide services to Tech companies.

Patent Drafting Resources

  1. Patent Drafting and Writing Strong Patent Applications for Creating & Protecting Inventions

  2. Patent Application Writing Guide | Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Drafting Software Patents and Mobile App Patents

  3. Patents in MedTech – Online Healthcare & Medical Practice Management

  4. Patent Research & Analytics | Where Patent Analytics Are Headed – Harnessing Power of Patent Analytics for Patent Strategy

  5. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) | Drafting and Writing Provisional & Non-Provisional Patent Applications (Specifications)

  6. How and Why are Patents Important for Technology Companies & Startups In Asia?

  7. How can Patent Search help in determining Patentability of Invention?

  8. What is the meaning of Patent Pending Status?

  9. What are advantages of Filing a Provisional Patent Application?

  10. What is a Provisional Patent Application?

About Us – Indian Patent Law Firm

We, at Tech Corp Legal LLP, an Indian law firm serving global clients and patent attorneys worldwide, provide quality patent drafting services to inventors. Along with patent support services provided by GIP Research, we offer top quality patent specification drafting services including enforceable patent claims and high quality patent illustrations.

Our team of patent attorneys and technical patent experts has comprehensive experience in executing projects pertaining to international patent drafting, patent drafting services, drafting patent claims and patent applications, software and mobile app patents, provisional and non-provisional patents, patent searches, office action responses, etc.

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Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at info (at) techcorplegal (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter

Discuss your Queries

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To get in touch with us, please click here.

View our presentations here.

About the Author: Rahul Dev

Engagements: Contractual Consulting, Hourly, Project Based

Contact Mode: LinkedIn or directly message here

Schedule a Consultation Now

This is not a legal advice: Disclaimer, Non-Solicitation & Liability

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Patent Basics and Intellectual Property Rights from Rahul Dev

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IPR Protection for Hardware Startups – Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights and Designs from Rahul Dev

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How to Hire a Startup Lawyer – Ultimate Guide to Understand Startup Laws from Rahul Dev

Important Website Terms of Use & Legal Disclaimers for Online Business Models and Mobile Apps Download free ebook for “Drafting Website Terms and Conditions – Important Legal Considerations”:http://app.getresponse.com/view_webform.js?wid=9764902&u=SkJ5Add to Flipboard Magazine.https://cdn.flipboard.com/web/buttons/js/flbuttons.min.js

Views published in Economic Times:

FreeCharge’s patent filing for alternative to OTP a wake up call for other companies

Originally published here.

financial technology patent attorney

FreeCharge files patent for technology claiming secure features for online transactions that provide alternative to the SMS based one-time-password (OTP)

Freecharge’s Technology named ‘On The Go Pin’ makes online and offline transactions faster

FinTech innovation by FreeCharge can reduce delay caused in receiving OTP through text message (SMS)

Freecharge’s patent claims innovative technology wherein security pin for online transactions resides within smartphone and keeps changing every few seconds.

To ensure security of online transactions, backend server of bank and merchants verify pin to process transaction.

Startups and companies file FinTech patents to prevent innovation theft and build up portfolio of intangible assets.

Patents serve as valuable assets for innovative companies spending valuable resources in research and development.

Analysis of patent portfolios of active companies and startups in financial technology (‘FinTech’) sector reveal that patenting activity in this patent classification is tossing up.

FinTech patents claim innovative technologies using digital platforms to deliver financial products and services that are implemented via efficient business models.

FinTech patents are filed in business sectors covering payments, banking, wealth management, capital markets, insurance, lending etc.

FinTech patents generally disclose innovations covering data, analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), crowdfunding, security, cloud computing, cryptocurrency etc.

Patent filing trends indicate R&D for financial technology based innovations is active among banks, financial institutions, telecoms companies, software companies and e-commerce companies.

Interesting patent filing trends in FinTech sector indicate that institutions like Visa and Bank of America have filed numerous patents.

FinTech patents can be used to generate revenues by enforcement or by selling the patented technology to interested companies.

Rahul Dev, Partner at the law firm of Tech Corp Legal LLP, is a patent attorney and international technology business lawyer. Dev’s corporate law practice is aimed at integrating patents, technology laws, intellectual property rights, regulatory and security laws to provide services to FinTech companies.

Patent Drafting Resources

  1. Patent Drafting and Writing Strong Patent Applications for Creating & Protecting Inventions

  2. Patent Application Writing Guide | Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Drafting Software Patents and Mobile App Patents

  3. Patents in MedTech – Online Healthcare & Medical Practice Management

  4. Patent Research & Analytics | Where Patent Analytics Are Headed – Harnessing Power of Patent Analytics for Patent Strategy

  5. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) | Drafting and Writing Provisional & Non-Provisional Patent Applications (Specifications)

  6. How and Why are Patents Important for Technology Companies & Startups In Asia?

  7. How can Patent Search help in determining Patentability of Invention?

  8. What is the meaning of Patent Pending Status?

  9. What are advantages of Filing a Provisional Patent Application?

  10. What is a Provisional Patent Application?

About Us – Indian Patent Law Firm

We, at Tech Corp Legal LLP, an Indian law firm serving global clients and patent attorneys worldwide, provide quality patent drafting services to inventors. Along with patent support services provided by GIP Research, we offer top quality patent specification drafting services including enforceable patent claims and high quality patent illustrations.

Our team of patent attorneys and technical patent experts has comprehensive experience in executing projects pertaining to international patent drafting, patent drafting services, drafting patent claims and patent applications, software and mobile app patents, provisional and non-provisional patents, patent searches, office action responses, etc.

***************************************

Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at info (at) techcorplegal (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter

Discuss your Queries

https://clarity.fm/assets/widget_loader.jsFrequently asked questions – Patents, Technology & Internet Laws ***************************************

To get in touch with us, please click here.

View our presentations here.

About the Author: Rahul Dev

Engagements: Contractual Consulting, Hourly, Project Based

Contact Mode: LinkedIn or directly message here

Schedule a Consultation Now

This is not a legal advice: Disclaimer, Non-Solicitation & Liability

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Patent Basics and Intellectual Property Rights from Rahul Dev

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IPR Protection for Hardware Startups – Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights and Designs from Rahul Dev

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How to Hire a Startup Lawyer – Ultimate Guide to Understand Startup Laws from Rahul Dev

Important Website Terms of Use & Legal Disclaimers for Online Business Models and Mobile Apps Download free ebook for “Drafting Website Terms and Conditions – Important Legal Considerations”:http://app.getresponse.com/view_webform.js?wid=9764902&u=SkJ5Add to Flipboard Magazine.https://cdn.flipboard.com/web/buttons/js/flbuttons.min.js

Not every layoff is legal and during tough times, businesses need to take difficult decision of letting their employees go with a view to target larger business goals.

Originally published here.

startup lawyer dispute resolution

Do Startups Deserve Special Treatment? Why Do Startups Take Employees For Granted? Act Responsibly If You Are A CEO – Respect Employee’s Legal Rights

However, termination of employees without justification is illegal and employees should always enforce their basic and legal rights.

Off late, startups have been in news for disputes among cofounders or termination of employees without reasonable cause.

Steps to be taken in case of Employment Termination

Unpaid Salary

Sometimes startups and companies terminate the employment of employees without giving notice period or without following proper procedures. In such cases, first step should be to determine what amount of money is unpaid, i.e. calculating salary dues are extremely important as employer is liable to pay full salary corresponding to applicable working days.

Variable Component

Employment contracts and agreements usually comprise variable component in addition to fixed salary compensation. Once unpaid salary is determined, next step would be to calculate exact variable component payable to the employee by the employer. In cases where exact calculations are not possible, approximate amount can also suffice. But startups and employers have no right to withhold such unpaid salary component, be it fixed or variable.

Equity

It is common for cofounders and early stage employees to be allotted or promised equity by startups. If that is the case and employment is terminated, it can get tricky to calculate the amount of equity component payable to the terminated employees.

Severance and Unemployment Benefits

Based on terms of employment and local laws, the terminated employees may deserve severance and unemployment benefits. Such benefits usually ensure employees who have been terminated can transition to the next employment smoothly.

Legal Advice – Hiring Employment Lawyer

In case terminated employees don’t get deserved compensation, it is advisable to engage an employment lawyer. In addition, executing cofounders agreement and employment contract is crucial for startups and early stage companies to ensure smooth business operations.

Startup Laws – Legal Considerations for Startups

Determine Nature of Business

Before identifying relevant laws and legal provisions applicable to a startup, it is advisable to determine exact nature of business. This is usually done by following 2 step process, wherein 1st step includes determining the general category of business, i.e. Software/IT, Manufacturing, Sales, Services, Marketing etc.

Subsequently, sub-categories of business should be determined, such as, for example, SaaS (Software as a Service), Mobile Application, Marketplace business, on-demand services etc. Once done, this can help in determining required steps to ensure complete legal compliance for startups.

Deciding Relevant Business Structure

Prior to incorporating a company, it is crucial to determine appropriate legal entity to suffice the exact needs of business. Under Indian laws, startups can select appropriate legal entity by selecting between a private limited company (pvt. Ltd.), one person company (OPC), limited liability partnership (LLP), conventional partnership firm, subsidiary of a foreign company etc.

In case of private limited company, it is advisable to select right amount of paid up capital depending upon priorities of the shareholders (stockholders or promoters or cofounders). Once corporate structure is in place, startups can engage company secretary (CS) and chartered accountants (CAs) for managing regulatory compliance, accounting, book keeping, taxation, including filing of income tax (IT) returns, service tax returns, sales tax returns, professional tax returns etc. Prior to that, startups also need to register their business for tax registrations, including service tax, sales tax, import export license (IEC), VAT etc.

CoFounders Agreement

Structuring equity among cofounders requires drafting of shareholders agreement (SHA) including crucial provisions relating to equity distribution, vesting of shares, lock-in period, voluntary exit of cofounders (shareholders), termination of cofounders (shareholders), rights and responsibilities, investments by cofounders, and the like.

With a view to comply with the legal provisions of the Companies Act, 2013, it is strongly advisable to ensure the incorporation documents of the company (MoA, AOA) are in strict synchronization with the shareholders agreement (SHA).

Startup Growth – Scaling the Business

Every startup aims to reach growth phase quickly and hiring employees form an important step to achieve such growth. While hiring employees, it is extremely important to execute appropriate employment contracts. Companies are also required to ensure labor law compliance and strict enforcement of “Prevention of Sexual Harassment Policy”.

In addition, business growth also includes appropriate IP protection, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, industrial design etc. In case of digital startups embodied as websites and mobile applications, drafting and publishing website terms and conditions, mobile app terms, privacy policy, user agreements, vendor agreements are equally important.

Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at info (at) techcorplegal (dot) com &@rdpatentlawyer on Twitter

Food and Beverage (F&B) Business in Gurgaon

As per latest tech trends, when food meets technology to reach the customers, it is termed as Food Tech startups. In a city like Gurgaon, food startups have significant advantages as it is one the hottest place in India to launch a food business. With multinational crowd, demand for new options for food is ever increasing and on-demand (home delivery) provides immense convenience to end-users.

Originally published here.

food tech beverage laws india

Online Food Startup: Business Model

Latest companies and startups in F&B space are establishing innovative business models. For example, kitchen in the cloud model embodied by FoodPort allows players to run their own kitchen instead of outsourcing or aggregating.

Another category is aggregators, which is well known due to the likes of Zomato and Swiggy. In this model, the aggregators provide interactive web-based platforms and mobile apps to users to connect with restaurants. Such interaction provides a diverse range of options, including managing the listings, taking food orders online, food delivery, etc.

Paradigm Shift

Traditional food stores are changing their business model completely from offline to online due to high rentals and unbearable maintenance costs. For example, Buenowhich had an outlet in DLF CyberHub (CyberCity), recently shifted to an online food company model.

Angel Investment & Venture Capital Funding

Food tech startups are buzzing with funding news in recent past. For example, InnerChef, a food-technology company based in Gurgaon, recently announced pre-series A funding. InnerChef delivers ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook meals by providing an online fresh food delivery platform offering fresh paninis, salads, combos, snacks and desserts throughout the day.

Business Validation

Due to huge corporate base, Gurgaon is largest market in India for customer validation and although numerous food tech startups have received angel funding and influx of venture capital investments, only a few will survive in future because the market is all set for consolidation.

Food Startups and Law

There are some crucial legal considerations associated with food business and appropriate measures are required to minimize the risk / liability. Specifically, to launch and grow a food startup / business quickly, it would require formulating strategy to handle potential issues relating to corporate law, employment law, intellectual property rights, and taxation.

Initial steps to start a food tech startup include determining an appropriate corporate structure by incorporating a legal entity (private limited company, partnership, OPC, LLP etc.)

With a view to have clarity regarding management roles, co-founders agreement (shareholders agreement) should be executed having detailed provisions for role of founders (directors or promoters), commitments, cash investments, shareholding pattern, vesting schedule, lock-in period, dispute resolution mechanism, and exit procedure. This helps in smooth functioning of business. Similarly, appropriate contracts, agreements and legal documents should be executed with Investors, manufacturers and third party vendors.

Intellectual Property (IP) ownership should be clearly stated in all documents and agreements. As a standard practice, all IP rights (patents protecting technology, trademarks protecting brand names and copyrights protecting other artistic works) should generally be owned by the company.

For more updates, follow GurgaonTech on Twitter and Facebook.

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Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at info (at) techcorplegal (dot) com &@rdpatentlawyer on Twitter

Client – Financial Technology (FinTech) Company

Product – Technology Providing Secure Platform for eCommerce Transactions

Originally published here.

fintech patent attorney

Business Goal – Protecting Intellectual Property (IP) Framework During Pre-Launch Traction

Solution – Firstly, once the client engaged our law firm, we identified multiple business partners across different positions in value chain of the financial industry. The partners included, Clients (eCommerce Companies – target group of said technology under B2B model), End Users (consumers of clients who are party to eCommerce transactions), and Vendors (intermediaries who will deploy and install said technology on each client’s eCommerce Platform).

Secondly, appropriate IP Contracts ensuring IP Ownership and Confidentiality / Non-disclosure were drafted and executed with all the above-mentioned partners.

Thirdly, provisional patent application was drafted and filed before launching the product for early adopters.

Finally, after pre-sale contracts were sealed and product was tested, final non-provisional patent was filed covering all features discussed in provisional patent along with minor improvements as suggested by feedback received from early adopters. Thereafter, a PCT International Phase Application was also filed, which can now be filed across multiple countries under PCT National Phase.

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Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at info (at) techcorplegal (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter

Frequently asked questions –

Patents, Technology & Internet Laws

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About the Author: Rahul Dev

Engagements: Contractual Consulting, Hourly, Project Based

Contact Mode: LinkedIn or directly message here

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This is not a legal advice: Disclaimer, Non-Solicitation & Liability
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Patent Basics and Intellectual Property Rights from Rahul Dev

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IPR Protection for Hardware Startups – Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights and Designs from Rahul Dev

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How to Hire a Startup Lawyer – Ultimate Guide to Understand Startup Laws from Rahul Dev

Important Website Terms of Use & Legal Disclaimers for Online Business Models and Mobile Apps

Download free ebook for “Drafting Website Terms and Conditions – Important Legal Considerations”:

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In June, I attended Echelon, Asia’s largest technology conference featuring 50+ global speakers, investors, startups, entrepreneurs, and prominent tech corporations.

Originally published here.

startup patent business attorney

I got a chance to listen to Udemy’s Co-Founder and chairman, Eren Bali, who spoke about building a marketplace business.

What I really liked about the presentation was the way he dissected the marketplace business model while discussing best practices about designing the business. It was quite similar to how a lawyer analyzes various legal issues during a business transaction.

While explaining various components of a marketplace business model, Eren discussed that to start the business, the main goal is to connect demand and supply, which means acquiring more and more users to connect them with the supply side.

Other subsequent components of marketplace business include discovery, pricing, payment, user experience and support.

An important approach explained by Eren was to categorize all components as centralized or decentralized. In other words, if marketplace intends to control any component, it can be called centralized while if it is left to the supply side, it can be categorized as decentralized. For examples, companies like Uber tend to embody the marketplace as completely centralized wherein Uber manages almost everything except driving, whereas companies like Airbnb, ebay, craiglist etc. embody marketplaces as decentralized, wherein the supply side manages most of the stuff.

technology business lawyer

His presentation and video are embedded below for more details.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmaIJKiU4aE]

Building a Marketplace Business from e27

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Legal Challenges

While managing a marketplace business, business owners have to consider and manage certain important legal concerns, some of which are discussed below:

Legal Liabilities

When you walk into a physical store to buy a product and question the store-owner in case of any defect in the product or issue related to electronic payment, a similar problem can also arise while buying a product from an online marketplace. In digital space, third-party vendors usually sell their products through marketplaces that are not owned by them, and consequently, the legal liabilities are also divided among marketplace owners and such vendors. Exactly who is liable for what and whether the liabilities are civil and / or criminal in nature, this will depend upon exact nature of transaction, issue faced by the end user, local laws, and other related factors.

For example, if there is a payment related issue, mostly the liability will lie with the marketplace as they are the ones who facilitate the transactions between buyers and sellers by providing a payment gateway. Similarly, faulty product will become liability of the vendor. In any case, liabilities will be a combination of basic contract law (between buyer and seller, buyer and marketplace business owner, seller and marketplace business owner), consumer laws (basic rights of buyers), data protection laws (mostly with the marketplace business owner), cyber laws, criminal law (mostly with both seller and marketplace in case of infringement of intellectual property rights like patents, trademarks, copyrights, designs, by selling of counterfeiting products by sellers through marketplace), and the like. Similar analysis can be applied while providing services through marketplace business, such as Uber, AirBnb etc.

Accordingly, it is advisable for marketplace business owners to have, (i) appropriate terms and conditions mentioned on their websites that are in line with domestic and international laws, (ii) appropriate contracts with external vendors (sellers) to ensure a smooth transaction with the buyer and prevent transactions pertaining to fake (counterfeit) goods that can result in intellectual property (IP) infringement. This is just an illustrative list of legal measures and based on exact marketplace business model, the exact legal requirements can be quite detailed.

About the Author: Rahul Dev

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