Innovation Is Good – Protected Innovation Is Better

In Denmark, innovation is flourishing, but with increasing international competition it is more important than ever to protect your product and business concepts.

Someone who is always coming up with innovative ideas is often referred to as a bit of a tinkerer, and in fact, Denmark is a nation brimming with ideas. A nation where start-ups shoot up like mushrooms on a damp forest floor. The challenge lies in the fact that the tinkerer must think not only of innovating, but also of protecting their concept if the innovative idea is to become a viable business concept.

The technological start-up community thrives particularly well in and around knowledge bases such as the Technical University of Denmark, and if the tinkerer’s idea proves sustainable, investor capital will soon be needed. But if no action has been taken to protect the concept, it may prove difficult to obtain the interest of an investor. After all, investors do not back a concept financially purely out of the kindness of their hearts.

It is important to address the matter of IP

“Naturally, an investor is interested in safeguarding his investment, which is why it is important that the start-up address the issue of how to protect the intellectual property rights of their concept and product,” says patent attorney and consultant in the technological field Claus Elmeros, from Plougmann Vingtoft. He believes that this is important not only for start-ups, but for all types of companies, and he elaborates:

The protection of intellectual property rights is also important in relation to the sale of a business or the merger of several companies as the market value depends on whether protection is guaranteed.

The overriding argument is, of course, protection against copying, but it is just as important to ensure that the company does not infringe upon the rights of others.

Infringement could be fatal to the company

Senior Patent Attorney, Claus Elmeros

“In that event, the company could be forced to cease its activities,” adds Claus Elmeros.

He points out the importance of the company being able to document their freedom to operate (FTO), i.e., their ability to produce and market its products without trans-gressing against others.

However, the FTO can prove very difficult to ascertain, especially if the company has activities abroad.

That is why Claus Elmeros recommends that companies seek professional advice on intellectual property rights. Plougmann Vingtoft has partners all over the world, allowing them to more easily uncover possible infringement issues.

According to Claus Elmeros, it is important that companies enlist the help of an advisor and make an informed decision about the management of their intellectual property rights.

IP protection is an investment

“It can, quite simply, be the death of the company if the proper protection is not established,” says Claus Elmeros, adding that a number of other issues must also be considered, namely who owns the rights, and whether those rights might disappear into thin air in the event of the company going bankrupt or parts of the company being sold off.

The issue of the protection of intellectual property rights is thus about more than just protection against copying. He points out:

It should be viewed as an investment for the future on par with development costs

His impression is that both start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises have become more aware of the importance of protecting the foundation of their businesses.

This article was originally published in Business Insights (Danish).

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