Almost 200 representatives of SMEs were present at V.O.’s presentation the High Tech Campus Eindhoven on 27 February 2015.
The presentation was part of a Netherlands Enterprise Agency event – ‘The value of patents for SMEs? IP strategy on a limited budget’ – and discussed brainstorming with the Invention Accelerator.at The Invention Accelerator is an approach that draws on patent information and other sources.
Little knowledge of patents amongst SMEs
The aim of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency event was for entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and experience of patent issues, in terms of both content and tax/financial aspects. Johannes van Melle, a patent attorney at V.O., was one of the speakers: “There is a misconception about the red tape and legal hassle involved when it comes to patents. Entrepreneurs primarily want to innovate, which is evident from the groans at the thought of all that paperwork, so to speak. With the Invention Accelerator, we see to it that information already established in international patent registers offers added value in the development process for entrepreneurs. This ensures that innovations are produced with a strong IP position at the same time.”
What is added value?
The approach has since been proven in practice, says Van Melle. “This approach works better than traditional brainstorming and gives structure to the brainstorming process, helping you to come up with new ideas. At the same time, you are steered towards a direction that increases the prospects of a firm IP position. There is a seamless connection between ‘engineering’ and ‘patent reality’, which offers clear business and economic added value.”
How does it work?
The team consists of a patent information specialist and a patent attorney (both from V.O.) who carry out the patent research, and an industry consultant from Philips Innovations Service (PINS), who structures the brainstorming using the TRIZ method. They start off with the patent research. The company involved would ideally have a team of developers/inventors and a business developer. The TRIZ approach is based on five stages and normally takes a few weeks to complete.