Each month, we introduce you to a member of our Ambassadors team. This month: Udo Gennari, our Ambassador in Austria, who is part of the Business Upper Austria
OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur in Linz.
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?
What we offer to our clients, mainly SMEs and start-ups, is patent advice, patent searches, patent valuation, trade mark and design advice, mainly at an international level. Our EEN team at Business Upper Austria, the Upper Austrian government’s location agency, also fosters innovation by innovation management assessment and improvement via the project ‘Enhancing Innovation Management Capacities’. The highest demand seems to be for novelty searches and international patenting advice.
What does it mean to you to be a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador? And what do you like most about it?
As a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador, I can tap into the knowledge of colleagues, provide my own experience, and enjoy top-notch IP training by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). I consider the IP Helpdesk a valuable source of IP knowledge and exchange with its comprehensive library and event portfolio providing added value for clients. Also, it is rewarding to represent the team at national IP meetings like the World IP Day. Personally, I enjoy meeting colleagues and enlarging my network at training events and, basically, every opportunity for vivid and enriching personal exchange with my colleagues.
How would you describe the internal interaction and cooperation with your Enterprise Europe Network colleagues?
The cooperation with my internal Enterprise Europe Network colleagues is very valuable and rewarding. Patent searches and international patenting advice form the basis of important KPI contributions, mainly advisory service outcome. I get the chance to support other Austrian EEN offices with IP advice and to organise experts for IP events. Within the VIP4SME project, I provided IP training to the Austrian EEN offices and I am also regularly invited to contribute lectures at IP events of other EEN offices.
In your opinion, what are current “hot” topics and questions related to IP in your region/country?
Current hot topics are focusing on IP for Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. This is also due to our affiliated high-tech incubator, tech2b, which supports many IT-based start-ups, and the fact that we have a Digital Mile recently set up near our tech centre, boasting top-notch and small IT companies. Therefore, we organise specific IP events, like the Experience Exchange IP with Robert Harrison, which was organised by the European IP Helpdesk and created very positive resonance among the audience.
What are major challenges SMEs face with regard to IP? And what kind of support is needed, you think?
A major challenge is a widespread wrong perception of intellectual property being costly, hard to get and even harder to defend. We address this lack of knowledge through regular IP events and training, in addition to direct coaching. Regarding the cost of international patenting considered necessary for the most important markets, we advise eligible clients, i.e. SMEs and start-ups, to apply for a patent cheque, offering an 80% funding of patenting costs – not only for national application, but also for a PCT application.