Invest NI has urged Northern Ireland companies to maximise the commercial value of their bright ideas by protecting their intellectual property (IP).
That was the focus of a conference the agency ran on protecting, commercialising and exploiting IP, attended by delegates from more than 40 local companies and academic institutions.
The event featured presentations on a range of IP issues, including identification and management of IP assets, collaboration opportunities between industry and academia and the licensing of IP.
Invest NI chief executive Leslie Morrison told delegates that the province had a growing academic and industrial research base, within which many potentially lucrative innovations were developed. He added: “In order for these advances to be fully exploited, however, it is essential that the IP associated with them is protected so that they become assets with real value that cannot be copied by competitors.
“This can provide a crucial advantage in any economic climate.
Mr Morrison went on: “There are many facets to achieving this and to making IP work for business and the economy. Making the best use of IP will help to realise the economic growth targeted in Invest NI’s corporate plan for 2008 to 2011.
“This places strong emphasis on increasing innovation within local companies, boosting competitiveness and generating value for the whole economy.
“Maintaining our focus on developing new ideas for, and improvements to, products and processes will help companies to tackle the recession and to be ahead of the wave that will follow it.
“Invest NI, through its range of financial and advisory support, can assist businesses identify and take forward research, development and innovation projects which can deliver significant returns.”
Other speakers were Victoria Hufton, former IP Manager for Nissan UK, and Professor Damien McDonnell, chairman of MATRIX, the recently appointed panel which advises Government on how to maximise economic opportunities by exploiting research and development, science and technology strengths.