Patents and intellectual property rights were the subject matter of the seminar organized by the research center Centro Volta related to the IComo: la fabbrica delle idee initiative, a project aimed to promote technology innovation among the local small and medium enterprises.
The meeting took place in Villa Olmo, the place chosen for the current exhibition devoted to Magritte, and consisted of a series of presentations by company managers and professional consultants involved in the delicate matter of tutelating intellectual property rights and exploiting the benefits and the added value of patents.
The current tendency is to consider a patent not only as a good tool of legal protection for a company’s idea or processing method, but also as an internal asset to make business with, a way of thinking americans already well know and effectively use. Testimonials of this were the managers of big companies such as ABB and Fiat with its CRF (Fiat Research Center).
From the conference clearly emerged that evaluating the convenience and opportunity of registering a patent is a delicate matter and requires the support of experts needed to perform a series of studies and researches in order to be able to produce a strong patent, which may be used as an effective protection tool especially for the local small enterprises constantly facing the counterfeiting phenomenon of a global market.
The innovation technology project I’m currently involved in, under the direct coordination of the Centro Volta, is evaluating these issues and after this seminar I’m even more convinced in the way of registering a patent to tutelate the work we’re doing and then make business with, if possible.
Registering a patent instead of maintaining an industrial secret inside a company has both advantages and disadvantages. With a patent your idea becomes public, but you tutelate yourself for the number of years you’re going to do business with. On the opposite think about the Coca-Cola formula for example. They say they didn’t patent it, so it still remains an industrial secret.
Software is an even more delicate matter if inserted in the patent issue, but that was not discussed in the meeting. The EU Commission is still debating about software patents and since they’re considered a big obstacle to innovation, especially by small developers, I suggest you to read about the NoSoftwarePatents campaign.
The conference ended with a funny and smart presentation by a lawyer who gave the audience some significant examples of the way of working in our country compared to the US. They seem to be different planets in this particular matter, not only by the numbers involved.