|Alok Aggarwal (L) and Marc Vollenweider:
Patents R Us
India may not be filing too many patents
just yet, but one start-up has made a viable business out of filing
patents for anyone, anywhere in the world. The company, Evalueserve,
is founded by Marc Vollenweider, the man who set up McKinsey's knowledge
centre in India, and Alok Aggarwal, who did IBM's research centre,
and it operates out of one of those new glass-and-chrome buildings
in Delhi's booming satellite, Gurgaon. Evalueserve advertises itself
as a remote business research outfit-Vollenweider claims it has
thus far completed research assignments across 195 countries, involving
65 different languages-but it is its fixed-price patent-filing service
that is truly unique. "In law, this is a novelty," says
Vollenweider, who operates out of Austria (Aggarwal is based in
the US). "And it is best done by technologists with minimum
legal training." Patent-filing is a logical diversification
for a remote-research operation; the bulk of the process involves
research. Aggarwal, who brings his patent-filing experience for
IBM's Indian research centre, and Vollenweider, whose McKinsey stint
taught him a thing or two about building remote-research outfits,
have hired marketing execs in the US, and hope to offshore patent-filing
activity from that country to India. Today, almost 20 per cent Evalueserve's
revenues comes from patent filing; and patents for key technological
discoveries made in other parts of the world, are made by a 230-man
operation in Gurgaon.
Getting Better All The Time
|Festive season: Gift are a good indicator
of economic well-being
avid fans of the big MAC index-a measure of whether a currency is
overvalued or undervalued based on the price of a Big Mac in that
market-we have a predilection towards unconventional metrics. Here's
one to mark India's festive
SEASON: every year, around this time companies and PR agencies
call up scribes asking for the address to which corporate-gifts-of-the-season
should be delivered. The past couple of years saw a decline in such
calls leading this magazine (which proscribes its journalists from
accepting the gifts) to assume that things had changed for the better.
We were wrong. This year, the number of calls has increased tenfold,
clear proof that we are well and truly into an economic revival.
Bharat Puri, Managing Director, Cadbury India. Yes, we know this
magazine has already taken the company to task (see Taste Of Real
Life, page 14) for its response to the worms-in-chocolate controversy,
but to try and get away by blaming the trade...
To Sharad Yadav, the Union Minister for Food and Civil Supplies.
The monsoon has been good, but the prices of essential commodities
have risen simply because of distribution problems. Thanks to this,
inflation is at nearly 5 per cent today.
Delhi's on fire
Lowe India CEO Prem Mehta must be
worried. Following news of the impending departure of the agency's
Delhi front-man Santosh Sood, the market is rife with rumours about
an exodus of executives and accounts. Sood-he was designated Executive
Vice President-spent over eight years at Lowe's Delhi branch and
was the man who bagged the LG account (now valued at around Rs 45
crore). Next month, he will join Rediffusion DY&R and go back
to working with his former boss Preet K.S. Bedi. The buzz about
the exodus seems true: Vice President Vikas Verma is signing up
with the UN, senior brand services director U.T. Ramprasad is Euro
RSCG-bound, Brand Services Director Naresh Sharma is headed for
Mudra, and Executive
Creative Director N. Ramesh, O&M. None of the agency's prized
accounts (LG, Wills Sport) has moved yet and COO and President Pranesh
Mishra is spending lots of time in Delhi. "We are talking to
the clients who would naturally be upset with the goings-on,"
he says. That won't be easy.