Thursday, March 4, 2010

Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation in Greece

On Friday, February 26, 2010, we had the chance to attend an interesting all-day workshop on "Intellectual Property Rights & Innovation" at Athens Information Technology (AIT) in Greece.  The workshop, successfuly organized by Dr. Xenia Ziouvelou and Professor Gregory Yovanof (both of AIT), sought «to explore the strategic role of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the course of  innovation in the global and highly competitive information society and highlight the importance of IPR  in promoting innovation and economic performance».  The main goal of the workshop was to merge distinct communities such as the legal,  business (Venture Capital) and the research and academic communities and to provide an opportunity for innovators and IPR experts to share their views and communicate their experience in the field. We plan to give an overview of the workshop now and will return to specific topics that are of interest to us in future posts.

The workshop was organized into four sessions (IPR & Innovation: Establishing the Linkage; Patents & Innovation; Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Innovation; Copyright & Innovation) and the list of speakers and diverse range of topics included:
  • "Protection of Inventions", K. Abatzis (Industrial Property Organization, Greece); 
  • "From University Research to Commercialized Technology: A comparative lesson from EU and the USA experience"  Dr. E. Alexandrakis (Economist - University of Sterea Ellada), 
  • "Protection of Rights in Inventions", Prof. M. Samuelidis (National Technical University of Athens);
  • "IPR and digital content sharing in medical education", Prof. P. Bamidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki);
  • "Strategic role of technology transfer & IPR in the era of Open Innovation", Prof. G. Yovanof (Athens Information Technology); 
  • "Trademarks & Innovation", Dr. X. Ziouvelou (Athens Information Technology) & E. Vlachaki (Korres);  
  • "Regional Performance (degree of clustering) and innovative performance (patenting levels)", J. A. Sachez (Corallia Clusters Initiative) & V. Papakonstantinou (PK Partners);
  • "Innovation, Intellectual Property and Small Business", K. Galanopoulou (MICROSOFT Hellas);
  • "IPR and Innovation in the contemporary technological landscape: an industrial view", D. Kritharidis (INTRACOM Telecom); 
  • "The Importance of IPR and Innovation from a VC perspective", O. Paladjian (CAPITAL CONNECT);
  • "Transferring knowledge into practice: The case of NanoPhos S.A.", Dr. I. Αrabatzis (NANOPHOS);
  • "Innovation through product design and development", A. Didaskalou (EDG DESIGNLAB); 
  • "Should a Greek Public Research Organization protect its IPR?", A. Oikonomidou (Business Development Consultant);
  • "Helping Small to Medium size Enterprises to exploit the results of R&D projects", O. McNerney (Iberian Productivity and Innovation Centre, SPAIN);
  • "Patents as incentives for innovation", Dr. D. Roukounas (European Patent Attorney);
  • "An outline of the Copyright provisions in the digital world", A. Fylla (Philotheidis, Rogas & Partners);
  • "Trademarks and Industrial Designs: legal perspectives", K. Mouzaki (Kostakopoulos Law Firm);
  • "Copyleft through Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons", M. Papadopoulos (Patsis, Papadopoulos, Kaponi & Associates); and
  • "Copyright protection and digital content: New rules for a new era?", M. Zoulovits (Philotheidis, Rogas & Partners).

The workshop was successful in providing detailed information about all intellectual property types including patents, copyrights, trademarks and industrial designs and in describing how rights stemming from intellectual property can be effectively used in creating strategies to enhance the innovative capacity of an organization.  In describing these potential IP strategies, the emergence and importance of open innovation was explained.  Other interesting themes included how trademarks could be used to enhance the marketing innovation capacity of organizations, how open educational resources should be built, and how patent pools could be effectively used to facilitate the licensing of specific technologies.

However, at least for us, It was really sad to hear that in Greece knowledge transfer mechanisms are almost inexistent, the patent law is outdated, Venture Capital funding is low, the patenting activity of the country is very limited and that there is scarcity of experienced Patent Attorneys. On the other hand, it was very encouraging to hear how recent cluster initiatives such as Corallia (dealing with Microelectronics & Embedded Systems) attempt to help the country in becoming more innovative.   Success stories such as those presented from NanoPhos (applied nanotechnology) and Edg Designlab (industrial design) also paint a rosy and more hopeful picture for the future.  

All the workshop presentations are available in Acrobat PDF format on the following URL:

The Open Innovation Team!
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