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Intellectual Property Rights in Financial Technology Market

I. Introduction
Financial technology (“FinTech”) is a current technology and innovation which aim to compete with the traditional methods in the delivery of financial services. Prior to the usage of FinTech as the marketable services to the public, FinTech has been used as the internal mover for the financial institutions on the back end of their businesses. FinTech emergence into the global market can be seen in many forms involving the in trend services such as mobile payments, money transfers, loans, fundraising, asset management and others. For instance, the ‘pay-wave’ payment from one smart phone can be regarded as the trend and/or method which able to cut-front the usage of cash system in future.

The booming of FinTech bringing together the fact that there is more FinTech based companies being incorporated to cater the development and well-growth of the same, thus creating new areas of protection from legal perspective. The growth in number of FinTech based companies has two flips of coin i.e. it gives a healthy sense of competition to the traditional financial systems and at the same time it helps to enhance the time, cost and service efficiency of the current financial systems. These efficiencies create the very own values of the FinTech in the global market. This article will summarize on how Intellectual Property (“IP”) rights operate in giving the necessary protection of the developing FinTech market.

II. Intellectual Property (“IP”) Rights in FinTech
Companies which cater for the services and development of the FinTech market should always do their ultimate best in protecting their IP rights through proper registrations and documentation of the relevant subject matters. This is paramount especially when the FinTech based companies are working hand in hand with the third parties in commercializing and/or developing the FinTech system. The issues which linger around concern on the complexity of the procedures, costs, duration and law involve in affording for the protection of IP rights over the FinTech system. The following are the basic IP rights which will be discussed on:

(a) Copyright
• When it comes to FinTech involving the computational program i.e. computer coding, general interface features, videos, audio, application programming interface structure and others, copyright will play a major role as it gives an automatic protection over these subject matters.

• Further, it is worth to note that it is paramount for the FinTech Companies to have solid policies when it comes to their collaboration with third party in developing the FinTech system as in this event, all of the parties concerned must accord to have a clear basis on their restricted copyright and the extent on freedom to operate the relevant FinTech system.

• Besides, it is also wise for the FinTech companies to really understand and aware of the condition stated in the employment contract entered with their employee and also the agreement entered with the contracted developer. The FinTech companies have to ensure that all of the relevant terms which honoring them with the ownership of copyright of the works are stated clearly and be made understood to the employee and/or contracted developer to avoid for any infringement of copyright issues in later day.

(b) Industrial design
• Industrial designs play an important role in protecting the outlook and the feel of any of the physical articles such as electronic cards, transaction machines, computer interfaces and others. Protection for the outlook and the feel of the products bring a major touch to the branding system of the FinTech companies which provide for the services involving the FinTech system as it promotes for the distinctiveness of the same. This will create a high-value in the branding system of the same.

(c) Patent
• Patents protection come into picture when there is a technology innovation involved. The advantage of affording for the patent protection is, it brings competitive and additional values as a negotiation tool. Filed technology innovation will accord the necessary protection to the owner of the FinTech companies when dealing with the third party in commercializing the same to the public at large. However, it has to be noted that the process in affording for the protection of patent will be time and cost consuming as the same demands for a high-complex process to ensure that the registered patent technology is accorded rightly.

• Nevertheless, pending the registration of the same, the applicant can still resort to the priority date’s basis in protecting their rights, as well as adding the commercial value over such technology innovation. The obtainment of early priority dates will accord the FinTech companies a great foundation in pursuing for the high-end commercial value over the FinTech innovation.

(d) Trade Mark
• Trade Mark protection accords the FinTech company with a good foundation in safe guarding their brands which may include a word mark, logo and others. Registration of the trade mark will establish a great foundation in securing the goodwill of the brands of the FinTech companies. This will helps to distinct the companies’ product and services from other FinTech service providers and/or product traders. As FinTech companies can be regarded to steward for financial assets and documentation, the protection of the companies’ reputable brand may be of paramount importance to customers.

III. Conclusion
The protection of IP over the FinTech system accord the companies who own it the necessary high-end in commercializing and developing of the same. The registration of the same will not only act as a protection tool over the FinTech system but also plays role in adding the commercial values to the FinTech companies which pursue for good and trustable modern financial system. The Fintech companies should regard the pursuit in the obtainment of IP rights in the FinTech system as a great investment as the same will bringing in its own distinctive additional values to the commercialization of the same.

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