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 have 30 years of professional experience in innovation and technology transfer, including more than 15 years in Intellectual Property (IP) diagnosis and assistance in science-industry collaboration. I have started working in ASTER - the Innovation Agency of Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy) now ART-ER, after my law degree - in the unit providing services for access to European programmes and schemes. Currently I coordinate activities and programmes addressed to our regional innovation ecosystem for intellectual property management, access to finance and investor readiness. I’m also an expert evaluator for public institutions in terms of supporting innovation and innovative business creation, member of KIC Raw Material Intellectual Property Committee and Horizon IP Scan Expert. In February I’ve also joined the EC Community of Practice for the smart use of Intellectual Property in Europe.
What does it mean to you to be a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador? And what do you like most about it?
I’ve joined the European Intellectual Property Helpdesk Ambassadors team in 2013 and since the very beginning I’ve considered the network an excellent place where many opportunities are in, in terms of learning, updating and mutual exchange and I’ve always found very dynamic and proactive people, a real example of European dimension.
How would you describe the internal interaction and cooperation with your Enterprise Europe Network colleagues?
The EEN consortium SIMPLER (Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions) I belong to has been benefiting for many years of partners’ knowledge and experiences in supporting SMEs (some of them are in EEN since 2008). The adopted approach in the consortium is a hub and spoke model which allow the best use of the distinctive competences of each partners to effectively answer clients' needs, thanks to a continuous monitoring and updating of partners skills and capacities. Thus, a relevant interaction is constantly running (last collaborative work has been the webinar held on 23 June in partnership with European IP Helpdesk). In the past we have also experimented a very exciting collaborative work with the other Italian Ambassadors for IP Helpdesk Fact Sheet translations.
In your opinion, what are current “hot” topics and questions related to Intellectual Property (IP) in your region/country?
Also, in my region and in my country – such as in the rest of Europe - digital and green transitions are at the core of the economic transformations and thus fundamental part of regional policy agendas. In this transition age hot IP topics are – among others - to how to protect specific digital assets with IP rights (e.g., artificial intelligence), how to maintain effective controls to ensure protection and management of IP in a business undergoing digital transformation, which methods and measures are able to face the challenges presented by different business models and approaches to digitalization as well as what are IP risks inherent in digital business methods and techniques.
What are major challenges SMEs face with regard to IP? And what kind of support is needed, you think?
Often SMEs and start-ups do not know how to properly use and manage IP to the benefit of their business, in many cases also because they do not know to have “IP” in their assets. In other terms they do not consider and integrate IP in their business strategy. In open innovation environments and collaborations with Science and Academia very often they present lacking of knowledge about contractual and licensing conditions and negotiation as well as management of business operations to protect trade secrets, planning business participation in open environment (e.g., participation in trade fairs).
For these reasons I believe that main support should be devoted in helping SME and start-ups to make an objective assessment of what are their intangible assets that may be worth and possible to protect by intellectual property protection methods as well as to provide support and recommendations in order to take IP into account in the business strategy also in open environments, such as collaborative and research and innovation projects.