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Sunday, Dec 22, 2002

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Creating a `Made in India' brand for IPs

Vishwanath Kulkarni


SEVERAL companies operating in the electronic design space have come forward to float an `IP Exchange Forum' on the lines of Nasscom, to promote India as a destination for intellectual property (IP) and address the issues faced by the industry.

Many an IT company in India is engaged in developing the IPs and consider it as an excellent tool for entering the world market.

"The idea is to promote the `Made in India' brand for IPs," said Mr Sridhar Mitta, Managing Director, e4e Labs, one of the brains behind the initiative.

The IP Exchange Forum, apart from acting as a promotional agency based on the lines of Nasscom, would also be a platform for both IP developers and buyers.

For a buyer, the IP Exchange Forum acts as an aggregator and helps them to select and acquire IPs, Mr Mitta said.

For instance, an electronic gadget might contain a certain number of IPs and manufacturer might want to incorporate a certain additional features, but he would not want to develop them from scratch. Instead, he could approach the company that has already developed the piece of technology (in other words the IP) and could buy it for a consideration. While it is not a product by itself, IPs would be used in the development of products.

The IP Exchange Forum also deals with "interoperability" issues faced by the members and help them in legal matters, especially that of contractual agreements, Mr Mitta said. It is also expected to help the Indian IT companies, especially the SMEs to expand their relationship and help collaborate on various issues.

While the idea is being floated around among the companies involved in creating IPs, several of the companies such as MindTree Consulting and ControlNet India, a subsidiary of ControlNet Inc, have already thrown their weight behind this initiative.

The concept, which came up during the Electronic Design Forum, organised by Cadence last year, is being crystallised into an idea and would help especially the smaller companies to overcome the inadequacies in their business models. A draft is being circulated among the companies engaged in creating IPs in Bangalore to formalise a common objective and vision, Mr Mitta said.

The forum will accelerate the process of IP creation in the country, said Mr P. Sridhar, CEO, ControlNet (I) Pvt Ltd.

It also helps in preventing overlaps, apart from complementing each other's resources even while competing, he said.

There are more than 200 IT firms in India that are engaged in the process of IP creation spread across different technology verticals. "We expect at least 100 of them to come together to join this forum in the first year," Mr Mitta said.

Merrill Lynch estimates the domestic IP market to be in the region of $1 billion, he said, adding that "initially we would like to restrict the forum to companies in Bangalore and later take it to other cities".

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