‘V.O. is increasingly becoming a partner in innovation’, says Chairman Cees Jansen. The reason for this interview is the 100th anniversary of V.O. It consists of a discussion about inventors, the importance of IP, the role played by V.O. and a look ahead to the future.
Which past and present strengths can V.O. identify for itself?
‘We have always chosen to go that one step further than expected. You could opt to simply accept and implement an IP protection case. However, our professionals think in terms of scenarios and adopt a more forward-thinking approach. The patent, design and trademark are all tools that companies can use to optimally profit from every innovation effort. That same idea forms the basis of our slogan: Activate your ideas. The front office benefits from the effective support of a very dedicated back office team in the above.’
So, V.O. is a strategic partner?
‘Definitely. We look at the client’s situation: is protection necessary? If so, which type of protection, how and in which countries? What kind of IP portfolio do competitors have and how will we respond to this situation? This is the basis on which we provide advice. Our advice could also be that it is better not to do anything at the present time. In other words, IP rights should not be protected, but kept secret or published. We believe that putting the interests of the client first in this way contributes to the achievement of a long-term relationship.’
The company has been called V.O. Patents & Trademarks for several years now
‘Patents, trademarks and designs are all cornerstones of IP. They complement each other and are vital for the image of the businesses our clients run. We also provide clients with legal services – which are represented in-house too – making sure that clients are able to benefit from a one-stop shopping experience.’
What does the future hold? 2025, for example.
‘The situation is certainly set to change in our field of work, with the arrival of the Unified Patent Court and the unitary patent. But no-one really knows what the exact consequences will be yet. I suspect that non-European companies in particular will opt for the unitary patent, which will be more manageable for them. European companies have a better understanding of the subject, which puts them in a better position to choose between the old and new systems. In the 100 years we have been in business, we have seen the introduction of a wide range of changes to legislation and regulations; fortunately, we have always been very capable of responding as required. So, that’s certainly not something that I’m worrying about now either.’
More offices in the Netherlands in recent years and offices in Germany and Belgium too. Why?
‘We now have the level of cover necessary in the Netherlands. If we continue to expand in our home market, we will increasingly be forced to represent the competitors of our existing clients. That’s not something we want to happen. We opened our office in Munich for clients from outside Europe. Because the E.P.O has offices in Munich and The Hague, we are always able to offer clients an optimal level of service from our offices in these cities. An increasing number of local, German clients are now also finding their way to V.O. Leuven is a logical expansion of the organisation too, given the growth potential of the innovation sector in Belgium. It certainly does not represent the end for our expansion plans.’
Big, bigger, biggest?
‘Expansion is not our main objective. By opening offices in strategic locations, we are in a position to maintain the connection with our clients, the people who work for our clients and the innovations that are being developed in their organisations. Our clients tell us that they value our personal approach. It’s an important core value that makes V.O. what it is. We love inventors and inventions!’
Back to the very beginning
On 1 March 1916, the deed of incorporation for the private limited company Vereenigde Octrooibureaux was approved. The persons appearing were Mr. Herman Blaupot ten Cate, Mr. Jan Knoop Pathuis, Mr. Adriaan Ernst Jurriaanse and Mr. Hendrikus Johannes Kooy, all of whom were registered patent agents. This moment marked the start of an exciting history for the office. During its 100 years in business, the organisation has seen a huge number of social developments. Despite this, the office has always remained basically the same: committed, expert and client-oriented. Values we believe in ensure that we are able to stand the test of time.