Commercialising Intellectual Property: Franchising

This fact sheet, as a part of the series on “Commercialising IP”, deals with franchising. According to the statistics of the European Franchise Federation, in 2009 the EU-17 Member States had more than 10,000 franchise brands, 10.8% of which represented the share of employment among small and medium sized-enterprises (SMEs). Franchising has been increasingly used by European companies and individuals as a route for exploitation of intangibles and expansion of their business to other territories and countries. This fact sheet will therefore help you understand what franchising is and particularly why it is an attractive business option, whether you are a potential Franchisor or Franchisee. Moreover, you will find in this document information on the legal environment in Europe and a checklist of the main steps to take when establishing a franchising partnership.

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D.A Glass: IP opportunity with the support of the Enterprise Europe Network

This case study tells how an SME can succeed in filing patent applications with the support of the Enterprise Europe Network. Having proper competences and cooperating closely with international network partners, EEN representatives assist in developing the potential and innovative capacity of SMEs. EEN partners facilitate direct contact with university experts and patent agents. Such contacts are helpful in the development of new products which are the subject of patent applications filed by network clients.

Additionally, consulting services related with intellectual property rights, provided by Enterprise Europe Network representatives, contribute to raising awareness of patent protection, trade marks and copyrights. In this particular case, the support in the procedures related with ensuring patent protection for newly developed technological solutions was invaluable for the company, especially in formal and legal aspects.

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IP assets for financial advantages

Besides the research activity, the costs of developing a new technology into a product and then marketing it are generally very high. Moreover, it is common for many small businesses to have little money to commercialise their innovations, for which they usually seek support from national financial schemes.

This fact sheet gives an overview of the different means at the disposal of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and research organisations (ROs) to access finance, in order to obtain liquidity from their intangible. The aim is to show that IP can be used as leverage for attracting investors, as collateral for obtaining credit and loans as well as receivables for securitisations. All of this can derive from banks, equity investors and the public sector.

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NaturallyUnlimited Ltd: company understanding of IP

Spending time and a little money to better understand the value of IP is certainly beneficial to any enterprise. This could help them take proper actions to better exploit their intangible on the market and also avoid incurring higher costs arising from badly conceived business plans.

The NaturallyUnlimited Ltd case study is a clear example of the importance for small businesses with limited financial capabilities of having professional support. Take a look at it!

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Cost-Effective IP Tools

Different studies show that small businesses face several difficulties in using the intellectual property (IP) system. Among them, costs related to the acquisition, maintenance and enforcement of IP are perceived as the greatest barriers.

This fact sheet highlights some low-cost strategies that SMEs could adopt to exploit their intangible assets and therefore reap the benefits of the IP system. It is important to note that there is no single best way to manage intangible assets and that the choice of the different tools certainly depends on the business strategy of the enterprise. Most importantly, for a business plan to be successful and fruitful, strategic decisions should be jointly taken with managers, lawyers, employers/creators and intellectual assets consultants.

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Commercialising Intellectual Property: Assignment Agreements

“Commercialising IP” is a series of fact sheets published by the European IPR Helpdesk aiming at providing an introduction to various forms of commercialisation which can be useful for less experienced readers who may likely be involved in the exploitation of intangible assets. Content provided therein is not intended to be exhaustive, and seeking professional advice is strongly recommended when it comes to choosing the most suitable commercialisation practice for your organisation and dealing with the complex legal issues surrounding these agreements. Hence, with these guides we aim to provide you with an understanding of the basic principles, which can help you saving time and money.

This fact sheet deals with the assignment of intellectual property rights. An assignment can be beneficial in many business circumstances. Examples may be when your company does not have the means to undertake commercialisation or prefers to receive a once-off lump sum payment for the innovative technology. This implies no later concerns regarding the maintenance and enforcement of the intellectual property rights. Assignments can also be very beneficial within the context of collaborative research: for example in the case of a transfer of IP ownership from one of the collaborative research partners to another organisation. Therefore, it is important to understand “what is an IP assignment” as it can be an effective route for the exploitation of your intellectual property. In this fact sheet you can also find an outline of the main provisions of an assignment agreement as well as a checklist to remind you of the most important steps when negotiating an assignment.

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IPR management in software development

Software, or computer programs, is a complex asset. At the boundary between pure creations of the mind and technical inventions, multiple intellectual property rights (IPR) can protect it.

Intellectual property is an essential tool to secure value generated by software. However, the means to create such value can vary considerably depending on the exploitation scheme chosen and the related ecosystem for which the use of software developments are intended. The aim of this fact sheet is therefore to introduce the various IPR that can protect software, the main licensing schemes available and their respective potential business impact.

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Commercialising Intellectual Property: Spin-offs

“Commercialising IP” is a series of fact sheets aiming to provide an introduction to the forms of commercialisation that can be useful for a less advanced public likely to be involved in exploitation of intangible assets. The content provided therein is not intended to be exhaustive, and professional advice is strongly recommended when it comes to choosing the most suitable commercialisation practice for your organisation and dealing with the complex legal issues surrounding these deals. Yet, with these guides we aim to give you some understanding of the basic principles, which can help you save money and time.

This fact sheet focuses on spin-off, also known as “spin-out”, intended as a separate legal entity created by a parent organisation (PO) to exploit its intellectual property (IP) assets. Once the company is established, the PO will transfer or license to it the IP concerned, in order for the spin-off to commercialise it. This fact sheet identifies the key factors to create a well-conceived spin-off company with a main emphasis on the IP-related aspects that can contribute to its success. Spin-off is considered as a common practice in Universities and Research Organisations (ROs), in order for them to exploit and maximise the economic benefits of the knowledge created, as often these organisations lack the required capabilities to market their intangibles.

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Commercialising Intellectual Property: Licence Agreements

This booklet is a follow-up to the “Commercialising IP” series, providing an introduction to the forms of commercialisation that can be useful for people involved in exploitation of intangible assets.

This particular fact sheet aims to clarify when licence agreements should be used. Moreover, in this document we highlight the key provisions seen in most licensing agreements, as well as the specifics of licensing certain types of intellectual property rights.

Follow the link below to download this hands-on document.

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