Intellectual Property Seminar held at ESTEC
It is widely accepted that protecting intellectual property is important for business but for start-up companies with limited resources and experience protection can often seem a daunting and perhaps near impossible task. As a result small and medium sized companies often fail to protect their intellectual property rights. Last week the Business Incubator of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office organised an Intellectual Property Seminar to address some of these issues.
The one-day seminar held on 2 February aimed at providing start-up companies with advice on how to best protect their ideas. It was held in the Mission Control Room of the Erasmus Centre at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC.
The event brought together start-up companies, experts in the field of intellectual property and ESA staff. Mr Peter van Dongen, from the Octrooicentrum Nederland (Dutch patent office), addressed the Seminar on how Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) can be used as a tool for development by start-up companies. The key areas discussed included: the extent to which copyright provides adequate protection for software-based innovations and how to decide on regions in which to apply for patents.
In the workshop which followed, Mr Dik Van Haarte, also from the Octrooicentrum Nederland, explained how to search patent databases to obtain more information on which to base decisions relating to IPR. Participants were then able to carry out on-line patent searches in their fields. At the end of the workshop, each participant was presented with a patent survey provided by the Octrooicentrum.
One of the aims of business incubation is to encourage start-up companies to learn from each other’s experiences and this seminar provided a unique opportunity for such discussion. Andy Lürling, co-owner of iOpener (soon to be renamed Real-time Games), a participant in the ESA Business Incubator and regional winner of the Galileo Masters Competition 2006 shared with the group his experience of making patent applications while Anna Hill, CEO of Space Synapse Ltd. another company taking part in ESA’s Business Incubator, discussed how IPR had affected the company’s business model.
This seminar is the first in a series of expert seminars being organised by the ESTEC Business Incubator. For more information on this event and future seminars please contact ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Space 2 Business
The European Space Agency seeks entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for using space technology, applications and services in a non-space environment. ESA’s Business Incubator can assist start-up companies by providing assistance from its technical experts and support for business development.
The Netherlands Patent Office grants patents in the Netherlands and disseminates the knowledge derived from the patent literature. Small and medium sized enterprises, entrepreneurs, inventors, technology institutes, scientists, teachers and students can visit the Office to obtain information. The Netherlands Patent Office is an agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The Octrooicentrum provides initial patent scans as a free service.