#1  
Old 03-28-2016, 09:19 PM
chimela chimela is offline
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Default A real business puzzle. Anyone?

Mobile payment services are categorized and regulated as
i) Bank-led, and
ii) Non-Bank-led.

A bank-led service launches but lacks a powerful feature called X.

A startup plans to launch a service that has the feature X, but the startup is required to partner with a bank or a non-bank licensed operator.

If the startup partners with a bank or sells to them, it makes maximum revenue.
But the banks are not trustworthy and may dismiss the partnership only to implement the innovation with feature X, and come to the market without the startup.

If the startup goes with the non-bank operator, it may not achieve momentum and perceived trust with the public.

How can the startup go with a bank sooner or later and still hold its own?
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2016, 07:03 AM
terri1001 terri1001 is offline
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Assuming this is a 'real' real-world problem, why not lease product X to the banks under some sort of license (drawn up by lawyers)?
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:27 AM
chimela chimela is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terri1001 View Post
Assuming this is a 'real' real-world problem, why not lease product X to the banks under some sort of license (drawn up by lawyers)?
Thanks for insightful reply. We're mulling it.
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Old 03-30-2016, 03:55 AM
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contrary contrary is offline
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Is X patentable?
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Old 03-30-2016, 06:33 AM
chimela chimela is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by contrary View Post
Is X patentable?
Thanks for thoughtful question. Unfortunately, no. That is one of the reasons why the situation is sticky.

X is just a new convenient way of doing things. It is one of those 'Aha!' moment solutions.
It can be easily replicated.

Let me generally provide a background. We want to tout it as a revolutionary way of providing the services, and shout it from the rooftops that we are the first to provide a thing like that. Then, we exploit this wave for economic gain! But to achieve mass adoption, we think we need the momentum and perceived trust a company would achieve by being backed by a bank, considering local sentiments.

We think that if we launched with a non-bank licensed operator, and started running, and a bank rolled out theirs in a couple of months' time, they would be more successful due to reasons stated earlier, even though they wouldn't be the first.

But no bank buys a product they do not know. (Now you've disclosed!)

We think the situation needs a deft play -- a smart orchestration of things.
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Old 03-30-2016, 03:51 PM
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contrary contrary is offline
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That's unfortunate. I'm assuming you've done your homework and that the "unpatentable" has something to do with the nature of the business model, since "easily replicable" by itself does not necessarily equate to "obvious"/"unpatentable". As a side note, I believe that if you file for a patent and abandon the application it will not be published.

With the banks, make sure you get a very good non-disclosure agreement before even talking with them so they can't look at your prototype idea and implement it independently. And then go in with a good licensing contract. You probably want a good contract lawyer.



Disclaimer, not a lawyer, patent lawyer, or patent agent so take everything I say with that in mind and several grains of salt. I'm just married to one and it rubs off a bit.
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Old 03-31-2016, 06:57 AM
AFWebster AFWebster is offline
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Default Get a lawyer

No matter how you slice this, you need a lawyer, or lawyers. Your state bar association *may* be able to help you identify one with the expertise you need. Considering that this may become a national product, you may need to get one for local, immediate availability and one with a national scope.

So, your legal team will need expertise in banking, technology, and Intellectual Property issues (patents & service marks [a catchy name may provide a significant advantage over imitators]).

Last edited by AFWebster; 03-31-2016 at 06:58 AM. Reason: fix grammar
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Old 03-31-2016, 12:38 PM
chimela chimela is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWebster View Post
a catchy name may provide a significant advantage over imitators
Thanks for adding an artistic/emotional component to the play, in addition to the legal components already suggested by terri1001, contrary, and you also.
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Old 03-31-2016, 02:49 PM
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alamakota alamakota is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by contrary View Post
With the banks, make sure you get a very good non-disclosure agreement before even talking with them so they can't look at your prototype idea and implement it independently.
From my experience, most of these are sadly not worth the paper they are printed on - the OP already knows this judging by the very first post: "But the banks are not trustworthy..." Additionally, in a situation where we're talking about only an idea, there wouldn't be anything proprietary to 'non-disclose' anyway. However, the actual implementation of the idea, algorithms, software, source code, etc. is something that can be protected; so is a trademark or a reserved name (as someone already mentioned).

Quote:
Originally Posted by chimela View Post
X is just a new convenient way of doing things. It is one of those 'Aha!' moment solutions. It can be easily replicated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by contrary View Post
I'm assuming you've done your homework and that the "unpatentable" has something to do with the nature of the business model, since "easily replicable" by itself does not necessarily equate to "obvious"/"unpatentable".
I believe that in the US (but not in the EU) one can actually patent a business model; obviously, not just any business model will qualify and there will be criteria to meet. Having said that, “a new way of doing things” on its own is not likely to qualify, as stated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terri1001 View Post
Why not lease product X to the banks under some sort of license?
Ah, but that requires that chimela has valuable and protectable intellectual property rights to license (see above). Until those rights are established there is nothing to license, unfortunately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chimela View Post
We think that if we launched with a non-bank licensed operator, and started running, and a bank rolled out theirs in a couple of months' time, they would be more successful due to reasons stated earlier, even though they wouldn't be the first.
IMHO, this is where the true problem lies: the first-mover advantage is quite short. Even if you launch with a bank as a partner, what is to prevent another (bigger) bank to release their own take on your idea and pull the revenue away from your platform? “A couple of months' time” doesn't sound like enough head-start to build a substantial and secure following, especially if there is no technological advantage or some mechanism for locking customers into your platform. My recommendation would be to first look into developing your idea into a proof-of-concept or draft implementation that would allow you to claim some kind of intellectual property rights over the whole thing and only then trying to find a partner (yes, I know, easier said than done :-) ) Conveniently, this would also help solve your problem of non-disclosure and licensing, as you'd actually have something to protect.

Disclaimer: not a lawyer of any kind; just a senior finance guy with real-world experience in contracts, corporate financing, and business deals (who happens to enjoy logic problems).
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  #10  
Old 03-31-2016, 11:53 PM
chimela chimela is offline
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@alamakota Thanks for bringing a new angle to it -- developing a proof-of-concept or draft implementation for intellectual property rights acquisition.
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