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‘We don’t want to be at the mercy of Facebook’: social app developer on the importance of filing patents

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Filing a patent is an important step towards building the product that you want while providing legal protections to you and your investors.

Sunmeet Jolly, patent holder and founder of the group activity planning app GROTU, tells The Sociable that just about all startups working in tech should file patents to keep their products safe from big tech influence and control.

Sunmeet Jolly
Sunmeet Jolly

“A patent allows us to build the product we desire for our friends and family”

“Filing Patent is a necessity for technology products with very large addressable markets,” said Jolly.

“Legal Protection is ‘demanded’ by investors, and as a founder with my own $1 million+ in time and money invested in the marketing, research, and development of GROTU, I have to protect my own and potential investors’ financial interests in this venture,” he added.

If a newcomer to the market doesn’t have patent protection, a big tech company like Google can swoop in and “simply copy the new methods or use its hundreds of billions in offshore cash to buy the new market entrant for less than its full value,” according to IP Watch Dog.

Apart from legal protection, Jolly says that patents also provide more freedom over the product.

“A patent allows us to build the product we desire for our friends and family groups,” said the GROTU founder.

“We do not want to remain at the mercy of Facebook corporation to decide if and when these tools will be available to us and with how much privacy, if any”

According to Henry Patent Law Firm, “Large tech companies flush with cash will often try to file as many patent applications as possible to create a constellation of patent rights.”

Jolly added that having your own patent frees you from the mercy of big tech companies because they own and control patents that might not be aligned with your vision or business model.

“Today Facebook controls 75% of social media,” said Jolly, adding, “their products Facebook and Instagram are designed for connecting unknown people, worldwide interest groups and promoting followership and boosting content based on algorithms with no option for an ad-free experience.

“Other products they have include private chat apps WhatsApp and Messenger, which do not organize or calculate upon data, and they deliver everything mixed up, wasting time.”

“I advise startup founders to protect intellectual property by filing patents and create a barrier to entry for competition”

“There was a need of GROTU app with its tools that friends and family can use in privacy, without linking spreadsheets, forms and docs in chat. GROTU will be grown into much needed “Private” collection of software tools for friends, family and other groups much like we have CRM and ERP systems in the corporate world.

“We do not want to remain at the mercy of Facebook corporation to decide if and when these tools will be available to us and with how much privacy, if any.

“I advise startup founders to protect intellectual property by filing patents and create a barrier to entry for competition. This gives founders control in executing upon their product vision and adds significant shareholder value,” Jolly added.

Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company.

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is the editor of The Sociable. His passions include writing about how technology impacts society and the parallels between Artificial Intelligence and Mythology. Previously, he was a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa and an editor at Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co