Koalect: Trade mark conflicts and the importance of prior searches

Finding the right name for your company and the products you sell is not an easy task. Not only do you need to be creative but also you must avoid infringing your competitors' rights over their trade marks. Avoiding infringement is even more important when you are at an early stage in the development of your new business. Time and economic resources are usually scarce when a company is being launched and you will want to invest them in something other than litigation. This is why performing a prior trade mark search before starting to operate a business under a certain name or brand is an essential task we must not overlook. 

To illustrate the issues that can arise in this situation, Koalect, a successful Belgian start-up, tells us their story in this new case study.


European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin Issue (24)

We are pleased to inform you that Issue 24 of the European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin has been published and is now available online.

This Bulletin issue is largely dedicated to trade marks and their importance for businesses.

An article from WIPO explains the different ways to obtain trade mark protection and a contribution from the EUIPO provides several updates on the EUTM regime and other relevant issues regarding, inter alia, enforcement. 

EUIPO's EU Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property provides some valuable information regarding two useful databases aimed at tackling IP infringements.

INTA reveals the basics of trade names in its article, and our interview with Design and Engineering Company reflects the importance of trade marks for SMEs and their management. 

As always, the Bulletin reports information about past IPR events together with some fresh news on the Helpline service. In addition, it contains the usual patent quiz and our brand new trade mark soup.

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The 2017 euRobotics Technology Transfer Award

Successful technology transfer describes the process of converting scientific findings from research laboratories into innovative products, processes and services by the commercial sector.

During the 2017 European Robotics Forum (ERF), the three most outstanding examples of technology transfer in robot technology and automation will receive the euRobotics Technology Transfer Award (cash awards and signed certificates).

Applications are invited from individuals or teams from:

  • industry, if technology transfer has taken place in Europe;
  • universities, research organizations or laboratories that are located in Europe.

The application deadline is February 5, 2017.

Further information on the euRobotics Technology Transfer Award is available here.


Boosting the start-ups in Europe: The Commission’s Start-up and Scale-up Initiative

The European Commission has released a communication to foster European start-ups and scale-ups to make them become Europe’s next leaders.

The Commission's “Start-up and Scale-up Initiative” brings together a range of existing and new actions to create a more coherent framework to allow start-ups to grow by addressing the three main elements:

  • removing the barriers for start-ups and scale-ups concerning the regulatory and administrative rules and formalities,
  • creating new opportunities,
  • simplifying the procedures for access to finance.

In this new approach, the Commission attributes particular importance to intellectual property (IP) rights by underlining the fact that IP has a key role in the success of start-ups and innovative SMEs. Therefore, in line with this “Start-up and Scale-up Initiative”, a staff working document has been published on IP, where a set of IP support measures for start-ups and SMEs was put in place. These measures comprise:

  • facilitating access to IP for SMEs,
  • facilitating the use and enforcement of IP, and
  • coordination of IP support and monitoring the impact.


For more information:

European Commission’s Press Release

European Commission’s Communication: “Europe's next leaders: the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative”

Staff Working Document on IP: “Putting Intellectual Property at the Service of SMEs to Foster Innovation and Growth”

The European Commission's Factsheet: “A Supportive IPR Framework for SMEs and start-ups”


On-site Helpline Hours in Brussels in December

European IPR Helpdesk welcomes you to the "Helpline Hours" in Brussels

First-line support on Intellectual Property Management

Once again, we are looking forward to meeting you in our Brussels Office, where you will have the opportunity to discuss your IP issues with our Helpline advisors face-to-face.

We will be happy to provide you free-of-charge, first-line support and information on your IP-specific questions.

The December edition of the Helpline hours will take place on

Wednesday, 7th December 2016 between 14:00 – 17:00

in our Brussels Office at Rue du Trône 98.

Please note that the use of the new Helpline hours in Brussels requires prior online registration. Just fill in the form here and select the most suitable time slot for you.

See you in Brussels soon!



Now available: Exhibitor List for REinEU2016 Conference Bratislava

An international conference completely dedicated to excellence in European science: The REinEU2016 taking place in Bratislava from 26th to 28th October 2016 is one of the largest events during the Slovak presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2016. Hundreds of representatives from European and international research and innovation communities, and the business sector will meet to discuss excellent science, research and innovation in the field of nanotechnologies, advanced materials, manufacturing and production technologies as well as biotechnology.

The European IPR Helpdesk team will join the event as one of the exhibitors. To view the full list of exhibitors, please follow the link below.

The conference includes three days of interesting and diverse talks and topics. The complete programme is available for download through the link below.

Don't miss this opportunity to make new contacts and find partners from around Europe. We are looking forward to meeting you in Bratislava and welcoming you at our booth at the exhibition.


UK Intellectual Property Office guide on IP and BREXIT

The UK Intellectual Property Office has published a guide concerning the future of intellectual property (IP)  rights and the recent Referendum decision on BREXIT.

This brief guide aims to cover the questions raised by the UK rights holders about possible consequences of the Referendum on their IP titles by giving information on trade marks, designs, patents, copyright and enforcement issues and the expected impacts of the Referendum.

Please click here to access the dedicated website.


Ask the Helpline

My company is applying to the SME Instrument (phase 2). We want to make a medical application, that seems to be very innovative, but we do not want to make any mistakes in our SME proposal. Can you indicate us how we should tackle the IP in our proposal?

The main points that should be addressed in the IP section with a proposal for the SME Instrument phase 2 calls, are listed in the “Impact section” of the Technical Annex of the proposal template. The content outlined in this section is related to the planned activities for dissemination and exploitation of the results and to intellectual property, knowledge protection and regulatory issues.
Please note that the IP subsection should tackle issues such as:

  • Identification of the background – definition of the project background, i.e. existing knowledge and other assets that will be necessary to successfully implement the project;
  • Identification of the project results - the content of your proposal does not have to be fully exhaustive on this point, but should identify the results which are foreseen, bearing in mind that unforeseen results might be created in the course of the project;
  • Identification of the corresponding intellectual property rights (if any) or alternative means of protection; you could also write about the means of securing your trade secrets (confidentiality issues); furthermore you could mention a possible trade mark protection - if you decide to commercialise your medical application under a specific name/logo with a specific geographical scope. To sum up, results generated under your project, such as data, inventions, know-how etc. — in whatever form or nature - can be managed and protected in different ways.
  • “Freedom to operate” issues;
  • Strategy for knowledge management and protection;
  • Ownership regime applicable to the results - this has to be compatible with the ownership provisions of the Grant Agreement - please see the SME Instrument Model Grant Agreement.

Please remember that the overall goal of this subsection of the proposal is to show that you have a plan for knowledge management - concrete measures to be undertaken during the project's lifetime and beyond with the purpose of allowing an optimal protection, and consequently, the most effective exploitation and dissemination of valuable assets resulting from your project.


Intellectual Property SME Scoreboard 2016

A new study commissioned by the European Union Intellectual property Office (EUIPO) examines in detail the use that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make of IPRs, why they do or do not register their rights, as well as the problems encountered by SMEs that do register their IPRs.

The study shows that a large majority of companies that have chosen to register their IPRs report positive effects, like increased reputation or improved image of reliability, strengthening of long-term business prospects and increased turnover.

Further information along with the full text of the report is available here.

The European IPR Helpdesk values your input!

Being a service initiative funded by the European Union, the European IPR Helpdesk provides free-of-charge and first-line IP support to European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). In order to constantly adjust our services to the actual needs of our present and potential users, we are currently carrying out an online survey to better understand the driving factors, deficiencies, necessities and expectations related to the use of IP amongst SMEs in Europe.

Therefore, if you are a representative of a European SME, you have the opportunity to have your say by answering our online questionnaire available until the end of June 2016 at the following link.

This will take approximately 10 minutes and all information provided will be anonymous and handled with confidentiality.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via email (service@iprhelpdesk.eu) or phone (+352 25 22 33 - 334).