July 2020: Mustafa Çakır, Turkey
Each month we introduce you to a member of our Ambassadors team. This month: Mustafa Çakır, our Ambassador in Turkey, who is part of the Sabanci University Technology Transfer Office in Istanbul.
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 dealing with patent portfolio management and commercialisation activities at Sabanci University Technology Transfer Office (TTO) based in Istanbul. As an industrial engineer and patent attorney working in my EEN consortia, I primarily offer IP guidance services to TTOs, R&D companies and startups. We are mostly working with patent-based deep-tech entrepreneurs/ startups that are willing to grow and become a unicorn. The services I provide to our clients are patent searching, patent portfolio management, market research, patent licensing and business model development.
What does it mean to you to be a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador? And what do you like most about it?
Being a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador is having the privilege to access an extensive network of high-profile IP experts around Europe. I am really happy to be part of this prestigious IP network and very pleased to be able to help Turkish SMEs and universities solve their IP problems in Turkey. As one of the ambassadors in Turkey, I really like to be in touch and engage with IP and R&D professionals who are seeking in-depth IP expertise for their personal and corporate growth.
How would you describe the internal interaction and cooperation with your Enterprise Europe Network colleagues?
EEN professionals who are dealing with technology transfer activities mostly need to know about IP to deliver comprehensive services. Thus, having an experienced IP expert on board is a strategic asset to an EEN consortium. And, these IP experts have to communicate with each other to understand the full breadth of the individual IP needs in their region or country. Being a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador offers a great opportunity to connect with local IP experts in different EEN member consortia as well as other networks beyond.
In your opinion, what are current “hot” topics and questions related to Intellectual Property (IP) in your region/country?
There are two emerging hot topics related to IP in Turkey: One is patent valuation, because patent licensing activities have started to increase in Turkey. Consequently, TTOs and companies are looking for comprehensive patent valuation services to understand their patents’ economic value in order to use in the context of government incentive frameworks. And the second one is Freedom to Operate (FTO) searching, because deep-tech entrepreneurship is about to grow in Turkey. In this regard, these startups are trying to commercialise new products and thus need to ensure their product does not include any components which might infringe others’ IP rights.
What are major challenges SMEs face with regard to IP? And what kind of support is needed, you think?
SMEs are the major drivers of our economy. In terms of IP and patent commercialisation, SMEs – and especially startups – lack information about the importance of holding a patent. Most of them do not know how to use patents as a strategic innovation tool to create competitive advantage in their market segment. Technology-driven SMEs and deep-tech startups are our focus. That’s why we are aiming to support them in addressing IP problems such as FTO analysis before a new product launch, patent valuations prior to a Venture Capital (VC) investment, or developing patent licensing strategies to help them increase their income.