This FAQ page is for informational purposes only. It is not an agreement between you and Tata SONS LIMITED. For legally binding terms and obligations please study and understand the Innoverse Website Terms and Conditions at www.tatainnoverse.com.
In this document, We refers to Group Technology and Innovation Office (GTIO), which is a part of Tata Sons Ltd. GTIO manages and operates this website.
1. (a) What is Open innovation?
Open Innovation is quite simply a way to harness the ideas and strengths of people who don’t necessarily work for us or even know us. Through their contributions, we would like to make changes to our products, business models or internal processes. We intend to use this platform to connect and collaborate with some of the brightest minds across the world to develop innovative solutions and products.
1. (b) What is the Tata Innoverse program?
Tata Innoverse is the Open Innovation (OI) program for Tata Group ofcompanies. It is centrally facilitated by Tata Son’s Group Technology and InnovationOffice (GTIO). One of the main objectives of the program is to bring together global experts like innovators, scientists and academics etc., to solve the challenges faced by the Tata Group companies around the world.
1. (c) What is the role of GTIO and other parties in relation to Tata Innoverse?
In Tata Innoverse, there are primarily the following stakeholders: The Tata company that presents a challenge [“Challenge Presenter”] where such challenges could be technical or product/process/services related challenges [the “Challenge” or “Challenges”], the entities or teams [each a “Solution Offeror”] that offer solutions [each a “Solution”] to such challenges and GTIO which acts as the facilitator. The Challenge Presenter defines and publishes a Challenge that is open to offers of Solutions from Solution Offerors around the globe. The Solution Offeror could be any individual or company, anywhere in the world, who has a Solution and expresses interest in sharing it with the Challenge Presenter for evaluation. GTIO acts as a facilitator. In this role, it performs the following activities:
Nonetheless, it is to be noted that the Challenge Presenter alone makes a final decision on Solution selection and the mode of engagement with the (selected) Solution Offeror. Such engagement would be between the Solutions Offeror and the Challenge Presenter and could include the following:
i. an assignment of the Solution along with all relevant intellectual property rights [“IPR”]in and to such Solution
ii. an exclusive license to such Solution and the related IPR
iii. a non exclusive license to such Solution and the related IPR
iv. a combination of the above with consulting services, teaming or other form of collaboration.
2. Who can join and submit Solutions to our Open Innovation challenges?
This is open for all to participate in; i.e. the participant can be an individual or a team or even an entire organization. We invite any “entity” [Individuals, Teams, Academicians, Scientists, Start-ups, Companies, Research centers and Universities] to send their proposals. We do not give any recommendations on how to participate, it is entirely up to the participants. Please note the following:
3. What can be the size of my team that can be formed for devising a Solution?
There is no fixed size to the team. Any number of people may collaborate and form a team to tackle the Challenge. It also depends upon who are the owners of the patent/pending patent. If you are submitting a Solution as a team, e.g. as a research group, team of students or a Professor – student team, you may mention your team details in the Solution description only. It is to be noted that in such cases the team will be recognized as the entity proposing the idea/solution, i.e. the Solution Offeror.
4. What special care should I take when I write/disclose the Solution?
The participants are strictly advised NOT to disclose any confidential information. We will get in touch with the selected participants later to get further details.
5. At what stage of development should my proposed Solution be?
We invite Solutions that already have at least a functioning prototype and are ready to go to market; or Solutions that have already been developed or are already in the market/in use. We are, at this time, discouraging participants from submitting Solutions which are in a very early stage of “Proof of Concept” and/or which require substantial investments for further development. Needless to state, each proposed Solution should fulfil the requirements outlined in the Challenge statement. A submitted Solution should not copy, infringe on existing ideas, solutions which are the IP of any other company, individual etc.
Here are some examples of Solutions that are at the appropriate stage of development for consideration by us.
Further, please refer to question 2 above which relates to the solutions which has not been granted patent.
For definition of PoC please refer item 17 below.
6. How is my Intellectual Property protected?
As stated above, we ask only for patent-protected inventions. If your Solution is not protected by a patent, please be aware that any information you disclose will be deemed as NON-confidential. Should we be interested in learning more about your Solution, you will personally be contacted by us. See items 2, 8 and 18 of this FAQ.
7. What kind of information does the Tata group needs to decide whether it is interested in my Solution?
We need a clear, concise description that conveys the nature of the Solution, the unique features and benefits it offers relative to existing solutions, and the status of your intellectual property. These are asked for in our submission form. Technical illustrations and photos may also be of help. These can be submitted to us via sending an email to email@example.com or sharing the link of these files in the Solution submission form. While sharing these documents, care must be taken to include your complete details, the Challenge and the Solution for which the files/details are being shared. It is to be remembered that all information submitted must be non-confidential.
8. How is GTIO and the Challenge Presenter willing to engage with the participants in its Open Innovation challenges?
If we find your Solution interesting, then our team will contact you for a follow up discussion where we will explore opportunities to engage with the Challenge Presenter for possible selection of your Solution and for subsequent steps such as those outlined in item 1 c above.
9. What happens once I send my proposal?
After you submit your proposal on the Site our team will start a multi-stage evaluation process. Selected proposal makers will be contacted personally to schedule follow-up meetings.
10. Will GTIO sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement [NDA] before I share my innovation?
Neither Tata Sons Limited nor any Challenge Presenter or its affiliate will enter into any agreements during the submission stage. If after our initial review of a submission, we find that we may have interest in learning more, we will contact you to discuss how to proceed and will then discuss if there is a need for any confidentiality agreements or other agreements.
11. Am I allowed to submit more than one proposal or be a part of more than one Challenge?
Yes, you can submit more than one Solution and also respond to more than one Challenge.
12. What if I need to contact the team, if queries, clarifications or more details are needed to understand the challenge better?
In this case you are advised to contact us by sending an email to our support team with your queries. To do this, please click on the “Reach us” link available on the website. All information provided by you during such interactions shall be deemed to be non-confidential.
13. How and when will I/we get to know if my Solution is selected?
Owing to the large volume of solutions that we might receive, we might only inform those participants whose Solutions get selected. This will be done on the date mentioned on the website.
14. What does the Tata Sons Limited do with personal information that I provide with my Portal registration?
Tata Sons Limited uses this information to communicate with the participants regarding the submission or for any future communication related to Open Innovation initiatives. It is not used for any other purpose; nor is it shared with any third parties.
15. I have a new Solution, but it is not covered by your current areas of interest and Challenges. What do I do?
Currently, we do NOT invite open ended solutions. However, if you wish, you may share your solution using the ‘Reach us’ button. We will go through your solution details and will come back to you at an appropriate time depending on the interest of the relevant people. All information provided by you during such interactions shall be deemed to be non-confidential.
16. My suggestion is not about technology, are you still interested?
Right now, our focus is on technology Solutions that are new and valuable to us.
17. What are the norms for grant of awards for accepted solutions?
Award money or an award may be given [subject to other conditions being fulfilled] when the following conditions in items c and d are met
Definition of PoC:
PoC would be achieved if any of the following three conditions are met:
1. The system is satisfactorily demonstrated to the challenge owner(s) with the following:
a. Partial fulfilment of functionality and performance requirements (as outlined in the challenge document) with an assurance by solution provider that he/she will achieve.
b. And cost is (or will be) within the target.
2. Funding is approved by challenge owner(s) (company) based on the document and discussions. Following conditions should be fulfilled in this case:
a. PoC submitted in the form of theoretical solution is analyzed by the challenge owner(s) or company and found to be feasible.
b. And solver needs to submit working principle of the system on paper.
c. And funding approved, or approval is in the line of sight.
3. Partial award is given by the challenge owner and further engagement is being worked out.
Definition of Release to Production:
The PoC was put to use for trials in real situation in the company for a period of time and the challenge owner was confident of its working and the System is in use for a sufficiently long period.
18. What if I do not have a patent or even a pending patent?
This could happen because you have not applied for a patent or your Solution does not qualify for a patent. In such events, depending on the readiness for use/potential of the Solution proposed and solely at the discretion of the Challenge Presenter presenting the Challenge, either GTIO or the said Challenge Presenter may contact the Solution Offeror and discuss options for engaging with them to take ahead the proposed solution to a stage of readiness for use. Terms and conditions for this will be settled to mutual satisfaction.
19. What care should I take to ensure that I have the legal ability to make the assignment or provide a license per item 17 above?
Any award is subject to the assignment/license of IPR as per item 17 above and you need to ensure that you can confirm in writing that your proposed solution is original and is free from potential claims related to intellectual property rights of third parties including your fellow researchers, current or past employers, current or former contractors/principals, collaborators, team members, contributors to your proposed solution, financiers, bankers, other holders of rights or other entities to whom you have proposed or will propose the same solution. Please ensure that you do not need the permission/consent/ approval/assent of such persons or any third party (including any governmental authority) before proposing a solution or providing an assignment or license.
20. Am I free to propose the same Solution to others? What if I have already done so?
We do not restrict your right to do so. But you will qualify for an award only if you fulfill all conditions including that of making an assignment of the IPR related to your proposed solution to the company presenting the challenge/problem or providing an exclusive license or other license to them that satisfies their requirements. At that stage, you will need to confirm your ability to the aforesaid and to undertake to do so without any legal or other impediments. Please also see item 19 above.
21. What if the same Solution is proposed by others [partly or otherwise]?
The options for choice among similar or overlapping solutions is entirely at the discretion of the Challenge Presenter presenting the Challenge. You must recognize that others may provide or make public similar or alternative or overlapping solutions. Or that one or other Tata company may be already working on the same challenge/problem and may develop a solution independently of [and without reference to] your proposed Solution.
22. Will you verify or validate my intellectual property rights/ status?
We will be entitled to do so but are not obliged to do so. If we do so, you agree to co-operate fully and also to provide such representations, warranties, remedies and indemnifications as may be required by GTIO and the Challenge Presenter presenting the Challenge
23. How will I know my offer of a Solution has been accepted or rejected?
You will know if your offer has been rejected if you do not receive any response from us within the period stated in a Challenge statement or before the Challenge is “closed” by notification on this Site.
If your offer is selected for further evaluation we will write to you accordingly and connect you with the Challenge Presenter for further action. Such action could involve, among other things:
a. verification processes
b. test processes
c. due diligence as to the IPR in your Solution. And other aspects as determined solely by the Challenge Presenter.
Acceptance of your Solution will be determined and notified to you by the Challenge Presenter in due course if they so deem fit. Any advice or intervention by us as Facilitator is purely to aid in the process and you agree that any and all legal obligations will be solely between you and the Challenge Presenter, and that you will not hold GTIO responsible for the rejection or acceptance of your Solution for any reason whatsoever.
24. How will GTIO and the Challenge Presenter protect the IPR in my Solution?
We seek only non-confidential information for evaluation of your Solution. You will be solely responsible for protecting the IPR in your Solution such as, for example, any patentable features, any trade secrets relating to the ideas and concepts, any copyright in the drawings and designs and any potential industrial design rights for the external aesthetic aspects of a product. This is why we require that you should have filed a patent application at the least, before submitting your Solution. If your Solution is accepted the Challenge Presenter may require that you take further or other steps to protect the IPR in your Solution either by yourself or jointly with the Challenge Presenter. You agree to cooperate in that exercise.
25. What IPR related actions do you require us to take before submitting a proposal?
BEFORE proposing a Solution to any Challenge, please do ensure the following [seeking clarifications from us if needed via firstname.lastname@example.org] to pre-qualify for evaluation of your Solution
i. Ensure that you have the unfettered right to provide the Solution to the Challenge Presenter along with all relevant IPR in terms of item 1 c above; that there will be no legal or other obstacles to this; and that you can guarantee this.
ii. Ensure that you do not need the consent, approval or assent of any other party [such as a current or past employer, partner, vendor, team member, lender, collaborator, teacher, university, services provider, lien holder, funding agency or person/entity entitled to any rights under contracts with you; or a government agency, regulator.. ] before providing the Solution as stated above
iii. Ensure that you have adequately protected all the IPR in, and related to, the Solution proposed by you; using measures such as: applying for patents in India for all patentable features, protecting proprietary features/information via trade secret protection/confidentiality measures and seeking industrial design rights for the ornamental and aesthetic aspects if any
iv. Ensure that you have NOT granted rights earlier to any one or incurred obligations that could prevent you from complying with the aforesaid requirements.