Model IPR Support Services for SMEs : Part II

Introduction

In the last issue on the subject, i.e., the first in this series, we covered some of the best and noteworthy practices in providing public IPR support services from Japan, South Korea, and Denmark. Many other countries have also devised a number of smart services to promote the use of IP system in SME sector, some of which we cover hereunder.

Australia

Australian ‘Smart Start’ Awareness Raising Programme

‘Smart Start’ an IP awareness raising programme of the Australian patent office is special in several aspects: It introduces the concept of IP usage and protection particularly to people who are keen to start their own enterprise or who want to acquire an already existing company. It follows the rationale that when new ideas arise for creating a start-up or buying stakes in other companies, the implication of protecting or not protecting IP has to be clearly understood and dealt with accordingly. The programme gives substantial hands on information to beginners regarding a wide range of IP protection possibilities – not the least with regard to informal protection mechanisms. IP Australia also provides a downloadable Windows based application package on “Confidentiality Agreement Generator” on its website, along with business plan templates that help boosting the morale of young entrepreneurs and making them understand the value and different types of IP and treating them as business assets.

Australian IP Toolbox

IP toolbox is an online guide to the practical use and management of intellectual property (IP) and covers excellent notes on IP issues and concepts. It is an essential and useful guide for all IP owners and managers. Besides, ‘Confidentiality Agreement Generator’, this site also provides a Windows based ‘Contract Agreement Generator’ downloadable package. The site is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs on IP management, protection and commercialization aspects. It also provides a number of inspiring case studies from Australian businesses.

Australian TM HeadStart

TM Headstart which is a sub-section of the Trade-Mark section of the IP Australia website is an excellent resource and guide for young entrepreneurs to understand the value of trade mark for their businesses. The site also hosts various other trade mark related services including ATMOSS – The Australian Trade Marks Online Search SystemTrade Marks Image Viewer and Business Names Applicant Search Service

Canada

Canadian IP Bank of Speakers Initiative

The IP Bank of Speakers is a collaborative effort of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC). Under this initiative, three free intellectual property (IP) presentations to public and private organizations across Canada are delivered by empanelled experts. This helps to enable business people to become familiar with IP as a strategic business instrument.

IPIC is the primary professional association of patent and trade-mark agents in Canada. Speakers are IP practitioners and members of IPIC, who volunteer their time to deliver a basic IP Awareness presentation. The programmes under this initiative introduce basic concepts such as the importance and strategic use of IP; an introduction to trade secrets, patents, trade-marks, copyrights and industrial designs; useful resources and tips; links to IP publications and online tools; and contact information.

United States of America

USA – The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) Programme

SCORE is a source of free and confidential business advice to help build small businesses from idea, to start-up and, eventually, to commercial success. SCORE uses more than 13,000 volunteers drawn from working and retired business owners, executives, and corporate leaders in 350 chapters located across the U.S. to assist small businesses with all aspects of business counselling and training, including intellectual property issues, without charge. An active online counselling initiative allows small businesses to search for a counsellor in a given specialty, such as protecting IP.

In 2009, SCORE volunteers donated more than 1.4 million hours of business advice, mentoring and workshop sessions. The SCORE Small Business Web Site is a popular site for small business owners, with a wide range of business resources and “how-to” information. The site also hosts Ask SCORE, which provides entrepreneurs and small business owners access to more than 1,650 email counselors with more than 600 areas of business expertise.

SCORE Counseling Activity Nationwide projects following figures

  • SCORE has helped more than 9 million people since 1964.
  • SCORE volunteers donated 1.4 million hours to the small business community in 2010.
  • 444,723 new clients received mentoring or training.
  • 106,216 online counseling cases were conducted via the SCORE Web site in 2010.
  • 283,150 people participated in SCORE workshops.

USA – STOPFAKES.GOV

The Stopfakes.gov website sponsored jointly by the US Department of State, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and US Trade Representative is established essentially to tackle piracy and counterfeiting besides disseminating awareness programmes on IPR in the interest of US small businesses.

SME IPR Training Tutorial available in English, French & Spanish covers the following topics at Stopfakes.gov:

  • Introduction to IP Protection
  • Need for IP Protection for Business
  • Understanding Different Types of IPRs
  • How to Obtain and Protect IPRs in the United States
  • Other Means of Protecting IPRs in the United States
  • Obtaining and Protecting IPRs Abroad
  • How to Enforce IPRs

International IPR Advisory Program available through the website is a collaborative initiative between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the American Bar Association’s (ABA) allows American small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to request a free, one-hour consultation with a volunteer attorney knowledgeable in both industry IPR issues and a particular country to learn how to protect and enforce their IPR, such as trademarks, patents, or copyrights, in that country. Expertise is now available for Angola, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam.

Towards tackling counterfeiting and piracy, the US Administration has developed the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) initiative, a comprehensive and coordinated U.S. government effort to smash the criminal networks that traffic in fakes; stop trade in pirated and counterfeit goods at America’s borders; block bogus goods around the world; and help small businesses secure and enforce their rights in overseas markets. The USPTO’s Small Business Education Campaign is part of this comprehensive government-wide effort to curb IP crime and strengthen IP enforcement – both domestically and overseas. The USPTO maintains a toll-free telephone hotline, 1-866-999-HALT, as part of the Administration’s Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) initiative that businesses can call for help.

USA / European Commission – STOPFAKES.GOV

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission’s Directorate General (DG) for Enterprise and Industry have developed the Transatlantic IPR Resource Portal to make it easier for transatlantic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find and use the resources that both governments have developed to protect and enforce intellectual property rights. This initiative is in response to the realization that SMEs across the continents are disproportionately affected by the costs of overcoming barriers to trade, especially in a critical area like protecting their intellectual property.

The Transatlantic IPR Portal informs the SMEs on the following aspects:

  • Cost of an IPR in Europe
  • Assessing SME’s Intellectual Property
  • IPR Guides for Specific Industries
  • IPR protection at trade fairs
  • Registering IPR and National IP Offices Services of EU Member States
  • Strategy and management of IPR
  • Case studies

 The TransAtlantic IPR Portal also provides country-specific IPR Toolkits for various foreign countries, i.e, Brazil, Brunie, China, Croatia, Egypt, European Union, India, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. These IPR toolkits contain detailed information on protecting IPR in key markets around the world.

Further Reading

Foot Note: We have covered in the previous article some of the best practices on the subject from Japan, South Korea, and Denmark and in this article from Australia, Canada and United States of America. Some of the other noteworthy best practices in other countries, e.g., United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France will be covered in subsequent article(s).

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