Intellectual property in the era of accelerating digitization

29. 09. 2023

Intellectual property in the era of accelerating digitization

The Ljubljana Technology Park was visited by Daren Tang, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), together with the Director of the Intellectual Property Office, Mag. Karin Žvokelj. The aim of the visit was to introduce selected start-up companies and to talk to scale-up companies about issues related to intellectual property and the challenges they face in this area.

Mag. Karin Žvokelj from the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office pointed out that their goal is to raise awareness of the importance of intellectual property rights and to provide companies with the necessary knowledge and support.

Only 20% of startups are successful on the road to profitability

Intellectual property and lack of protection of the same should not be an obstacle. Most of the value of such companies is often hidden in their intangible assets. But to reap the benefits of your intellectual property, you need to protect and manage it.

She also announced that a new publication will be released soon - a guide to intellectual property for startups, describing the Slovenian market and legislation. In it, you will learn the basics of intellectual property, as well as strategic ways to use it and manage risk. It will also include advice on how to make your product stand out in the market and go international.

Control the destiny of your innovation

Having a great idea is just the beginning. Developing it and bringing it to market is a long journey. Along the way, do not forget to protect your most valuable asset – your intellectual property. Intellectual property rights allow you to control the fate of your innovation. They give it value. It matters if you want to start a company, if you are looking for investors if it is acquired by other companies…. The success of a start-up depends on understanding the risk of disregarding intellectual property and knowing how to use it.

The Slovenian Intellectual Property Office strives to be a partner to companies, innovators and creators. It offers many services that can help you on your way: Infopoint, events, lectures, presentations, IP First Information Service and much more. 

The acceleration of digitalization

Mr. Tang pointed out some of the global trends related to intellectual property. The pandemic has accelerated a global trend, and companies are shifting to digitalization. Developing countries that used to depend on tourism or infrastructure have had to look at innovation, creativity, technology, and entrepreneurship as sources of growth. Many developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are now stepping up to the plate and looking at intellectual property as an engine for growth. Intellectual property is becoming very geographically diverse.

Due to these changes, patents related to ICT have increased by 170% in the last five years, and current global data shows that 70% of these come from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Global issues: AI and intellectual property

Scaleup companies and Mr. Tang had a fruitful debate and exchange of views on the increasingly widespread artificial intelligence that is flooding all areas of business operations.

AI – big challenges:

  1. can AI be an inventor/creator? Can it be named in patent applications? In all legal systems in the world, only humans and companies can make inventions and make legal claims.
  2. AI learns by searching databases. Is that legal without permission, should that be aloud? It has already happened; some companies have sued for learning from their content without their permission.

They agreed that there will not be an international agreement on AI anytime soon, it will take some time, at least 3 years.

Why should startups protect their intellectual property?

If the community VC focuses on intellectual property as an indicator of quality, startups will follow.

When you apply for funding in the US the first question you are asked is: What have you patented, what have you trademarked, what is your industrial design and copyright strategy? If they don’t have an IP strategy, you may not get funding.

Start-up Fair

Selected start-up companies from our community presented to Mr. Tang, with whom he mainly talked about the challenges and opportunities of protecting their intellectual property, be it knowledge, design, trademark or patents.

  1. Ubiquity Robotics (Neja Einav) - platforms with mobility, navigation, power and compute working out of the box.
  2. Beyond Motors (Domen Kočevar) - Axial flux e-motors are the next step in electric propulsion solutions. Used in marine, aviation, automotive and racing industries. 
  3. Bias Variance Labs,(Panče Panov) – Cutting-edge AI solutions for modeling and analysis in space research and technologies.
  4. Microbium (Gregor Zupin) - detection and elimination of microorganisms in drinking water, wastewater and products of the chemical and food industry. 
  5. Savvy (Marino Samardžija) - ECG monitoring - Atrial fibrilation - Prevention against Cryptogenic stroke.
  6. Mides Design (Erik šifer) – Naval design. 
  7. Podkrižnik Group (Simon Kulovec) – intelligent drive systems, components for engines, automatic machines.
  8. MOM (Martina Mlakar) – Uniq handmade jewlery.
  9. Remigo (Marko Vrtovec) – Electric outboard motors.