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Any idea, however brilliant and revolutionary, could be worthless if it is not properly protected. While, for a long time, companies have been particularly careful to record financial and tangible assets (real estate, equipment, products, etc.), they are increasingly incorporating intangible assets, derived from creativity, imagination and inventiveness.

This intellectual asset is a source of great wealth for the company, especially for innovative companies, whatever their field of activity: new products, software, design, algorithms, health solutions, audio-visual productions…

However, one can observe that intellectual property is not always appreciated at its true value, especially by start-ups or SMEs, which are too often occupied with other priorities they consider more urgent.

Partial understanding or misunderstanding

“Too often, the notion of intellectual property is still limited to patents,” says Serge Quazzotti, Director of the Institut de la Propriété Intellectuelle Luxembourg (IPIL). “Above all, the small players are convinced that this only concerns large industrial companies and that it is very expensive. We still observe too often that they have a partial or incorrect understanding of it.”

Nevertheless, there is a great deal of interest, as demonstrated by the many requests made to the IPIL helpdesk: more than 200 in 2018. The Institute also received more than 150 participants as part of its BOOST-IP programme and provided no less than 50 pieces of advice at the House of Entrepreneurship. “This proves the importance and impact of this topic for companies and their activities. Raising their awareness and guiding them daily in their IP approach remains one of our main objectives,” summarizes Mr. Quazzotti.

It is in this same vein, raising awareness and providing information, that three of Luxinnovation’s clusters (Creative Industries, HealthTech and ICT) and the IPIL are jointly organising an event on the morning of Monday 30 September from 9 to 12am. The event will also act as a prelude to the “Afterworks of Intellectual Property” which will take place on the 10th (concerning applications and networks), 17th (Health and Technology) and 23rd October (Creative Processes), with the aim of highlighting intellectual property issues in an increasingly digital environment.

Concrete advice

Presentations will be made by Luxembourg and European intellectual property experts as well as experienced practitioners in the fields of creation, research and investment, providing concrete advice on how to make intellectual property a strategic asset for companies.

“We are seeing that intellectual property is an increasingly important concern,” notes Jean-Paul Hengen, manager of the Luxembourg ICT Cluster.”In addition, there is a lot of misunderstanding about what can and cannot be patented, in terms of source code or algorithms, or about copyright in an open source context. It is therefore important to give clear information to everyone and to eliminate a certain number of preconceived ideas.”

The lack of knowledge of the issues related to intellectual property is not restricted to companies in the ICT sector alone. “Creatives often underestimate this important pillar of their business model,” says Marc Lis, manager of the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster. “Frequently forgotten by the creative industries, intellectual property is nevertheless an integral part of a company’s business. The purpose of this event on 30 September is therefore not only to inform and present real cases, but also to raise awareness among the creative industries sector and enable knowledge exchange with other sectors and experts, who are already relying on intellectual property to capitalise on their “inventions”, their “ideas”.

From the medical sector’s point of view, the approach is quite different, because the notion of intellectual property (in particular patents) has always been an essential focus for innovative companies in the sector.

“Recent technological developments, in particular the arrival of digitalisation in all dimensions of products and services, are changing these traditional strategies,” notes Jean-Philippe Arié, manager of the Luxembourg HealthTech Cluster. “Many questions are recurrent: differences between countries in the application of digital patents, copyright applicable to codes and coders or databases, and algorithms for complex analyses or investors’ views.”

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