Every invention however simple it may seem is the result of many hours of hard work. Though inventors want to show their inventions to the world, they guard their ideas from theft and plagiarism. As I type these lines, I thank Edison for my well-lit space and Charles Babbage for the computer. They live well past their lifetime in their inventions. However, many inventors, like the one who invented paperclips that tie up papers on my desk, are not remembered despite inventing widely used items. Who would not like the fruits of their own efforts? The fruits need not always mean a wide popularity. They can also mean a flourishing business.
Our intangible inventions, software products, can travel faster across geographies and carry our name to the whole world. With good offshoring partnerships they can be developed further and promoted. But they run the risk of getting duplicated. It is vital to understand how to guard our IPs before deciding to outsource our product development.
Structural support for IP protection in India
Thanks to International patenting laws our efforts and our intellectual properties (IP) are well protected. These laws assure inventors and researchers that their expenditure in research and development can be recovered and their efforts will fetch profits. They also prevent illegal use of their IPs without authorization. Here are some organizations that provide us IP security.
WIPO: Globally WIPO (World Intellectual property organization) protects the interests of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) holders in all its member states. India is currently party to six treaties administered by WIPO including the Patent Cooperation Treaty (1998).
National IP regulating associations: Countries that have good IPR values usually have a government regulated association that provides guidelines for its IT Industry. In India, all operating software firms need to comply with the guidelines set by NASSCOM (National association of the Indian IT Industry).
Third Party Compliance Solution Providers: Compliance Solution providers like BSA (https://www.bsa.org/) certify IP protection standards of offshore firms. A BSA SAM (Security Asset Management) certification ensures that all software technology tools and products that the offshore firm uses to build your products are safe.
Where can this go wrong
During the world war II, The US army popularized this phrase to prevent citizens and servicemen from carelessly revealing army secrets while talking on phone or in person. In our competitive world the phrase alerts us to be careful that we do not reveal too much about our work secrets while talking to people or on our social media accounts.
Promoting our services and products digitally is needed, but it is always a tight rope walk. Your firm, its employees, your offshore partner, employees at your offshore development center are all responsible for protecting your IP. And you must communicate your commitment to protect your IP to all the stakeholders.
Choosing an offshore partner
Like an artist’s artwork or a craftsman’s hand-crafted masterpiece, our IPs carry a part of our lives, time, experiences, and mind. When you have to handover your product DNA to employees at your offshore development center it is not just your IP that you are giving them. So, it is natural to be cautious. Hence, choosing a good offshore partner is critical for your business. Ask yourself these questions before choosing an offshore partner.
Are International Laws applicable?
Once patented, the international laws assure us that a legal action can be taken if someone steals our IP. We must make sure that international laws are applicable in the nation your offshore development center belongs to. Once your product is developed, the law should guarantee you its complete ownership.
Do you Trust your offshore partner?
The law is not enough to ensure a safe business relationship. Time is too precious to be wasted in legal battles. For a good offshore relationship, it is also important to choose a partner who respects law, values hard work, ensures transparence in business, and shares your moral values. Enquire about any past security breaches. If there are very few, and if they have taken necessary action even when those security breaches seem harmless you have found a good partner.
Is your offshore partner taking enough measures to ensure IP Protection?
Know the standard of Information Security Management System at your offshore development center. Security leaks from outsourcing your work can be avoided by
- ensuring that the offshoring partner understands your company values and communicates them with their employees working on your product.
- making sure all the employees in the offshore company who work with you and use your products understand and abide by the rules of confidentiality. The employees upon recruitment sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
- ensuring your offshore firm checks the background of employees before recruiting them.
- ensuring that the offshore premises are well secured.
- confirming that your data and offshore network are well protected.
- ensuring that employees use only licensed software.
- ensuring that your offshore partners Information Security management Systems (ISMS) are regularly updated and reviewed to accommodate changes in ways of working, like working from home during a lockdown.
Offshoring helps you expand your business and lowers costs of developing your software product. By understanding the laws applicable, by refraining from revealing too much about your IP on social media, and by choosing your offshore partner thoughtfully you can protect your IP from misuse and theft.
We at CoMakeIT value and cherish relationships with our partners and stakeholders built on mutual respect and trust and have zero IP security breaches since our inception. Our contracts are also governed by the Dutch laws. We are certified on ISO 9001:2015 for QMS and ISO 27001:2013 for ISMS. To know more about how we provide reliable offshore partnerships please visit us at https://www.comakeit.com/how-we-do/