Could you briefly describe your core expertise and field of activity within the Enterprise Europe Network? What are key services you offer to your clients?
My clients range from entrepreneurs, start-ups and more established small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Many of them need support on patent protection and increasingly on trademark advice as part of a broader intellectual property (IP) strategy. My own background is quite broad - research, knowledge transfer commercialization and I have international experience in UK, Ireland and USA that can be leveraged. EEN-Ireland delivers client support using the Innovation Health Check (IHC) assessment tool. Indeed, analysis of a company’s IP strategy is a core part of the IHC, and a real value add to the EEN client community.
What does it mean to you to be a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador? And what do you like most about it?
Without doubt, the range of entrepreneurial companies that I support – one day I can be advising a movie animation company or a smart textile company, and the following week a quantum computing company or offshore wind energy company. The community of ambassadors, European IP Helpdesk staff along with the ever-deepening engagement with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and European Patent Office (EPO) are invariably rewarding.
How would you describe the internal interaction and cooperation with your Enterprise Europe Network colleagues?
There is a real and increasing demand for both advisory and training services from my Enterprise Europe Network colleagues. These activities form the “bedrock” of our cooperation. This invariably leads to multiple follow up IP advisory services which contribute to the client journey! Collaboration with our European IP Helpdesk network of partners is very welcome and something we are very keen to expand on!
In your opinion, what are current “hot” topics and questions related to Intellectual Property (IP) in your region/country?
The hottest topic is the UPC! Although Ireland signed the Unified Patent Court (UPC) agreement in 2013, the required referendum to alter the Irish constitution and ratify the UPC has yet to take place. The Irish government announced in June 2022 that a referendum is expected to take place in 2023 or 2024. This is expected to be successful – and will undoubtedly lead to increased level of patent protection especially for the Irish SME base. Over time it will also lead to both a broader and more holistic approach to the management of intellectual property assets
What are major challenges SMEs face with regard to IP? And what kind of support is needed, you think?
SMEs get great support from the European IP Helpdesk and supporting ecosystem but lack independent IP advice that take a strategic view on the bundle of IP (including Soft- and Hard-IP) that SMEs possess or aim to develop, such as through Open Innovation projects. There is an increasing recognition of the need to support the capacity building of independent IP strategy advice for Irish SMEs. I was delighted to be involved with the development of the Code of practice on the management of intellectual assets for knowledge valorization 2023 – there was a clear desire to involve SMEs and other stakeholders in this process.