WIPO: Trade secrets - the hidden IP right

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has recently published an article regarding trade secrets, which provides a quick overview of this "hidden right". Learn how trade secrets are regulated in the EU and in the US; how they can be used to protect inventions in comparison to patents, and how they can prove particularly beneficial for SMEs.

Check this interesting article and for further information on trade secrets, consult the European IPR Helpdesk fact sheet "Trade secrets: an efficient tool for competitiveness".

The European IPR Helpdesk is looking for case studies: tell us about your IP success story

Would you like your IP success story to be known by thousands of people around Europe?

What about becoming a source of inspiration to SMEs, institutions and researchers?

Tempted?

Then, tell your story as one of the European IPR Helpdesk's case studies and we will spread your success all around Europe!

Case studies are part of the range of publications developed by the European IPR Helpdesk in order to increase awareness of IP. Case studies contain concrete examples on how SMEs, institutions or academics use IP to achieve business success.

The European IPR Helpdesk disseminates case studies free of charge to an audience of more than 13,000 people through its website and through its newsletters, with around 8,000 subscribers.

Check our library if you would like to find out more about our case studies and contact the European IPR Helpdesk's IP advisors, Alejandra Aluja (alejandra.aluja@iprhelpdesk.eu) and Paula Barnola (paula.barnola@iprhelpdesk.eu), if you would like your case study published by the European IPR Helpdesk.

We are looking forward to hearing about your success story!

DesignEuropa Awards 2018: applications open!

The DesignEuropa Awards celebrate excellence in design and design management among Registered Community Design (RCD) holders, whether they are individual right holders, small businesses or large enterprises.

Applications for the DesignEuropa Awards 2018 are now open until May 15, 2018. The competition takes place every two years and is open to any person, entity or institution of any nationality, either individually or as a team, provided that they own a valid RCD that is also marketed and sold (in any country).

Find out more and apply here

Domain names and cybersquatting

The Internet has created plenty of opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as it has revolutionised the dynamics of international commerce and is an excellent means to boost brand visibility.

The Internet acts as a gateway for SMEs, but it is also an ideal platform for infringers to sell counterfeit products and commit fraud. One of the most significant challenges related to Internet fraud is cybersquatting.

This fact sheet aims to present the issue of domain name ownership and registration, and their relationship to trade marks, as well as explaining the issue of cybersquatting and the available dispute resolution mechanisms that may be used by SMEs to protect their businesses online.

 

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Research on Online Business Models Infringing IPRs

On 24 October 2017 the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) launched a new report regarding intellectual property rights infringement and domain name abuse.

Namely, in a two month period between December 2016 and January 2017, more than 27,000 e-shops in four EU Member States may have marketed products which infringe trade marks. The report shows that of these e-shops, over 21,000 were using domain names that had previously been registered in the name of others.

The four studied Member States were Spain, Sweden, Germany and the UK.

The report is a follow-up on the 2016 EUIPO report on Online Business Models Infringing Intellectual Property Rights, which detailed a business practice in Denmark and showed that this model is also used to market goods to consumers in Sweden, Germany, UK and Spain, and possibly other EU Member States.

Read the full report here.

EPO's SME case studies

The EPO has produced a series of case studies on European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which are leveraging the power of patents and other IP rights to achieve business success.

SMEs from different countries, operating in different industries and technology sectors, were interviewed about their IP strategies and underlying business models. The resulting case studies illustrate how new and established SMEs have developed the IP management capabilities they need, and how they are using IP to their advantage.

Read more about these case studies here

European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin Issue (27)

We are pleased to inform you that Issue 27 of the European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin has been published and is now available online.

This Bulletin issue is largely dedicated to IP and innovation and their importance for business.

An article from WIPO highlights the instances where IP has the potential of playing an important role in the process of taking innovative technologies to the marketplace and clarifies the difference between innovations and inventions.

EUIPO aims to enhance the understanding of the role and contribution of trade secrets within the IP portfolio of EU companies while the next article, by the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO), gives an overview of the relationship between IP, plant variety rights (PVRs) and innovation along with its importance for European SMEs.

EPO focuses on how SMEs from different regions and sectors can better exploit their IP by developing a creative, proactive and value-oriented approach to patents and other IP rights.

Moreover, Sacha Lakic Design, a Luxembourguish design company, shares with us its expertise in this field in an interview, providing some guidance on what to do when facing IP issues and how design companies can best manage their Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

As per usual, the Bulletin reports information about past IPR events together with the latest news from the Helpline service. This time you will also find two short articles regarding the "New Country Special: IP in Croatia" and the IPforBusiness - IP Training Roadshow for Innovation Support, as well as our brand new IP and innovation letter soup and the usual patent quiz.

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Copyright essentials

Copyright is an intellectual property right (IPR) that grants authors, artists and other creators protection for their literary, artistic and scientific creations, generally referred to as “works”.

No matter if you are a copyright owner or a copyright user, the understanding of the copyright basics is crucial to any business. In essence, it must be borne in mind that safeguarding your own copyright and securing the permission of third parties before using copyrighted materials is not only legally required but also a good business practice.

The present fact sheet illustrates the importance of copyright protection for businesses and provides insight into the copyright regime, knowledge of which could prove beneficial in particular to SMEs.

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EPO launches a selection of SME case studies!

Best practices for European SMEs to get the most out of patents

In a highly competitive business environment, Europe’s SMEs need to remain agile and responsive to market conditions. One way of doing this is to invest into R&D and build as well as maintain a strong intellectual property portfolio. But developing and fine-tuning IP strategies is not always easy, particularly for smaller entities, which often have limited resources.

A new publication by the European Patent Office provides concrete examples of how small businesses can use IP to their advantage. It not only illustrates the variety of approaches to using IP and their many advantages, but each study also contains a list of specific recommendations.

What you can learn from the 12 case studies:

-       how to align IP strategy to real business needs

-       the benefits of involving multiple company departments and external expertise in IP strategy definition

-       how to collaborate with universities and research organisations in early-stage research

-       why to make use of free patent information databases to conduct in-depth prior art searches early in the creative process

         before research begins

-       benefits of a strong IP portfolio  to attract investments

-       how to create strategic partnerships with global leaders and ensure a strong and steady market position with the help of

         own patents.

The publication also highlights the benefits that SMEs might expect from the planned Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court. These include savings in time and money, as well as greater legal certainty across the EU market.

We hope this publication will be useful for small and medium-sized companies and their advisors as they can benefit from the experiences and good practices described in the case studies to support their own development and growth.

You can download the studies here: epo.org/sme and please don’t forget to spread the word to anyone that might benefit from them as well.

SME case studies

The European Patent Office (EPO), in close collaboration with renowned IP experts, has published a set of twelve case studies on a range of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across Europe.

The studies show how companies can proactively adapt their IP strategy to real business needs, and illustrate the variety of approaches to and advantages of using IP. They also highlight the benefits that SMEs can expect from the planned Unitary Patent. This reform will offer businesses a simpler alternative to the existing system, and introduce a more cost-effective route to broad and uniform patent protection and dispute resolution throughout the participating EU member states.

For further information on this publication and to download the case studies, visit the EPO's website here.