Collaborative IP in the era of open innovation

The emerging global economy is a knowledge based economy with a tireless thirst for disruptive innovation. This has led to the increased importance of open innovation. Open innovation does not involve the royalty free use of IP but rather involves collaborative working between Intellectual Property owners to develop new products. It offers the advantages of:

1) Shortening the time to innovate;

2) Sharing risks;

3) Reducing costs;

4) Getting preferential access to markets.

This necessarily involves the sharing of background intellectual property in the form of patents, trade secrets, Trademarks, design rights and copyright to create new bundles of products. The increasing importance of open innovation to the European Economy and global economy are reflected by the following statistics:

1) Between 1996 and 2014 2.5% of European Trademarks applications received by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) where co-owned applications.

2) In the same period 18% of registered design applications received by the EUIPO where co-owned

3) The increase in year on year increase the number of co-owned patent filings registered in the European Patent office (EPO) since 1991.

In order to get the best possible outcomes the collaborators need to understand:

1) The nature and protection of the background intellectual they are bringing to the collaboration;

2) the need to protect the pre-consortium discussions by confidentiality agreements;

3) Appropriate consortium agreements;

4) To understand the nature and protection of the foreground IP created from the collaboration;

5) Agree to sharing the costs of obtaining and enforcing the protection of the foreground IP;

6) The legal rights and obligations of co-owned Ip in different jurisdictions.

The most important issue for creators of IP through open innovation is to have an understanding of the basic IP law. This means they can understand the appropriateness of legal advice given them by professionals and work with the professionals as intelligent customers.

Image courtesy of The European Business Review