The curious case of Pan-masala, Charitable burgers, Apples & Lemons..

Intellectual property like any other property can be exploited for monetary & non-monetary or strategic benefits. There are many direct consequences of benefitting from the IPRs you hold like direct use, selling & licensing, franchising, merchandising & joints ventures, pooling the assets to name a few.

However, innovation in the exploitation of IP is not unheard of! So in my third blog, I decided to put together some case studies to bring out the unconventional ways to make the best use of your IP:

1. Patents as marketing tools:

 For the past 60+ years, the name Manikchand in India has directly been correlated to Gutka (Tobacco powder) & Pan Masala. Every Indian knows & identifies Manikchand brand with these (frowned upon) items.

Recently, when the Govt started imposing stricter bans on the promotion & sale of Tobacco products in India, Manikchand group had to diversify into other products! I cannot think of a single soul who would have bought packaged drinking water back then, if they knew that it was manufactured by the tobacco giants!

The group’s innovative marketing of its process patent on drinking water under the brand name Oxyrich came to the rescue, to not only break-in into a new segment of consumer goods but also provided the required credibility do so.

Today every Oxyrich bottle, advertisement & marketing material proudly boasts of a patented process which makes the water inside 300% more oxygen rich!

oxyrich2

 

Image credit: Manikchand

2. Charitable Burger joint:

This interesting incident actually happened in the early 90s when people were not only skeptical of the internet domain names but also thought it was a hype which would soon die its natural death! That was the time when some curiously visionary minds actually bought domain names of many established brands & the company hardly cared!

Interestingly, writer Joshua Quittner who had bought McDonalds domain name, ended up asking people online for opinions on what he should do with it. He finally ended up exchanging it with McDonalds, in return for a $3500 charity to a public school of his choice!

mcdonalds

Image credit: McDonald.com 1996

3. Live & let live!

The Beatles (Apple Corps) & Apple.Inc were at loggerheads for almost 30 years embroiled in a trademark dispute over the apple trademark that both these businesses owned.

Finally in 2007, both companies reached a settlement & decided to sub-let the trademarks by signing a co-existence agreement of sorts. Apple Inc was reported to have bought out Apple corps trademark rights at a whopping $500 million.

In the end, live & let live prevailed!

apple

Image credit: Macdailynews

Seems like it is not enough to just own IP these days, one actually has to think out of box & device innovative ways to make the most of it. My only parting wishes are, that when life gives you Lemons, make Lemonade!

Posted By :

Sneha Kanitkar

Regt. Patent Agent & Innovation Life-cycle consultant

[Disclaimer:  The views expressed on this blog & in my subsequent posts are free expressions of thought & should not be construed as a legal counsel or advice. Reader’s discretion is strictly advised before taking any monetary or other decisions based on the ideas expressed herein. The author will not be held responsible for any actions taken & subsequent consequences based on the content posted herein.]

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