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?
I am Network's Project Manager in the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the largest business support organization in Estonia. Since joining the Chamber and the Network in 2017 I have helped Estonian companies to find partners abroad, but also foreign companies to access the Estonian market. I have been organizing different B2B matchmaking events and company missions together with our Network partners. Another topic close to my heart has always been IP. Before joining Chamber, I worked in Estonian Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Centre, offering IP support services to Estonian SMEs and advising on various IP topics, conducting IP audits, and organizing awareness raising events. This previous experience motivated me to apply for European IP Helpdesk Ambassador role once I joined the Network.
What does it mean to you to be a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador? And what do you like most about it?
I strongly believe in teamwork – that’s what the whole Network means to me – joining forces to help our companies together. What I like most about it is being part of this big family, where we share knowledge and learn from each other. This simplifies my everyday work and adds value.
How would you describe the internal interaction and cooperation with your Enterprise Europe Network colleagues?
The internal interaction within the Ambassador team is very active and I value the trainings that we have twice a year. It has been a long time since we have not been able to meet face to face, but the support has always been there via other means like e-mail, webinars, Zoom meetings etc.
In your opinion, what are current “hot” topics and questions related to Intellectual Property (IP) in your region/country?
There is a lack of awareness about IP and IP rights in Estonia. That has been also one of my main tasks being an IP ambassador in Estonia, to raise the awareness, through publishing different articles in our Chamber’s communication channels, organizing awareness raising events and educating our SMEs. I believe there is enough support services available in Estonia, the question is more about the ignorance of our companies. They deal with IP issues once they face some infringement cases, or these questions arise suddenly when the company tries to involve investors or disagreements arise between the owners, founders, or employees.
What are major challenges SMEs face with regard to IP? And what kind of support is needed, you think?
SMEs do not realize the importance of IP or the necessity to protect their rights. Materials related to copyright have been scattered and it is difficult to obtain information on this matter, authors do not always know how to protect their rights. Although we come into contact with IP on a daily basis, be it in the form of someone's music, texts or even inventions, on the one hand it is difficult to understand how these works should be used. To raise awareness of IP and copyright, a new website gathering information in this field, www.intellektuaalomand.ee, has been completed in Estonia this year, and digital educational material is being prepared, which is intended for high school and university students, so that the IP education can already start in early stage.
For an SME, there are quite many strategic IP advisory services already available in Estonia, also by public bodies – SMEs just need to find their way to them and understand the importance of protecting their IP rights to grow their business and fulfill their business goals.