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Patents in the Canary Islands

A technologically powerful region needs to dedicate significant resources to fundamental Research, and also to provides the necessary Aids to Patent and Promote Entrepreneurship

The need for patenting is directly related to the intention of protecting knowledge, and also, the future commercialization of products derived from such research. In the Canary Islands, there is no tradition, and in Spain it is now starting to be addressed in important economic hubs, such as Madrid, the Basque Country, Andalusia, Catalonia…

In any case, compared to the Anglo-Saxon industry, I am afraid, we are a century behind. In technological sectors, entering and surviving in the market require: professional protecting one’s own knowledge. Specially to avoid that those who plagiarize your developments, do not expel you from the market by patenting your Research, which is quite common.

However, the main goal of any Spanish scientist remains to publish in peer-reviewed journals because that is what the Administration values in the scientific career. The problem: once published, it is impossible to patent it, but not vice versa: everything patented is publishable.

Technologically Powerful Region

A technologically powerful region needs to dedicate significant resources to fundamental research and to provides the necessary Aids to Patent, and Promote Entrepreneurship from the Academy.

The aids are clear:

• Seed funding
• Complementary economic team
• Professional advisors
• Laws for temporary leave
• Priority access to scientific infrastructures…

The alternative of licensing the patent is much more difficult. The international reality is that patents must be prototyped and then commercialized, and always the investor requires to have the creators involved in the development, not any substitute.

Business Policy regarding IP Protection

Business Policy regarding IP Protection is Key. The drafting of the patent, and each of its claims, must be reviewed and evaluated by a Specialized Legal Office.

• The cost of good drafting is around € 8.000, but the grants for patenting in Spain, published in the BOE (Official State Gazette), do not cover even half of the budget.

• Once the company get patent nationally, and before 18 months, it is necessary to go to international patenting, which requires a similar outlay (€ 8.000).

Finally, about two years after the original patent, it is necessary to enter the national phases of each country, where it is necessary to:

• Pay fees
• Translate into the language of the country
• And to defend the claims before each national patent office.

The minimum price for good protection per patent is € 40.000.

An important alternative, incorporated two years ago into European and national legislation, is Trade Secret. It allows to register the idea with a lower cost, and allows the company for commercialization it, even if a later patent infringes on our previous research. At least that way, whoever works the market best, would keep it.
Yes, I’m talking about competing. 😊

José Manuel Rodríguez Ramos (CEO at Wooptix)

The personal perspective expressed in this article is the result of the direct experience of the undersigned, both in fundamental research and in industry transfer

The Original Article has been published in “La Provincia Diario de las Palmas” . Read More