UL lecturer says intellectual property assets ‘must be explored’

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Paul Dillon and Ray Friel, University of Limerick, at the launch of the IP Cafe this week. Pictures: Sean Curtin/Fusionshooters
A LEADING law academic at the University of Limerick has said most businesses are “unaware of the true extent” of the intellectual property assets they own and do not understand the tools available to protect and exploit them.

A LEADING law academic at the University of Limerick has said most businesses are “unaware of the true extent” of the intellectual property assets they own and do not understand the tools available to protect and exploit them.

Ray Friel, of the UL school of law, said businesses are quite literally losing millions of euro “in unseen asset potential”.

He was speaking this week at the launch of the IP Café - a comprehensive 13 workshop series tackling the commercial aspects of intellectual property (IP), including patent protection and international trademark issues among others, which will start next month at UL.

“The primary assets of tech intensive companies are no longer factories and machines; increasingly, the value in a company is in the innovative ideas and concepts underpinning the products and services traded by the company,” agreed Paul Dillon, director of Technology Transfer Office, at UL.

“The university is working actively to enable companies to better manage their intellectual assets through its research and innovation activities. This IP Café series is a logical step in our efforts to reach out and engage with the industry on this important topic,” he added.

Mr Friel urged that “if Ireland is to truly create a 21st century economy it is going to have to effectively manage a national IP policy. Changes in both technology and the legal framework will create a radically new environment for which both government and industry appear unprepared”.

“Within business, IP too often remains the Cinderella asset waiting for an imaginary prince,” he added.

The free 13-part workshop and networking series will begin on September 17 and runs until December 2016 with speakers from Arthur Cox, the Patent Office, University of New Hampshire, University of Maine, William Fry Solicitors, Tomkins IP and UL itself.

The series has been organised by the International Commercial and Economic Law Research Group at UL.