(L-R) Serge Quazzotti, Director of IPIL; Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy; Credit: MECO

On Wednesday 13 April 2022, Luxembourg's Minister for the Economy, Franz Fayot, and the director of the Institute of Intellectual Property Luxembourg (IPIL), Serge Quazzotti, presented the missions and the awareness-raising and support activities offered by the Intellectual Property Office (l’Office de la propriété intellectuelle - OPI) and the IPIL to companies to support them in their efforts to protect their intellectual property rights.

Two companies then testified to the contribution of intellectual property to their entrepreneurial journey.

Key component in research and development strategies

Intangible assets are playing an increasing role in the global race for technological leadership and demands for intellectual property are on the rise. Intellectual property, which encompasses both industrial property (patents, trademarks, designs and models) and literary and artistic property (copyrights and related rights) today represents a strategic value creation factor for companies. Identifying, exploiting and enhancing their intangible capital allows them to differentiate themselves from competitors and increase their competitiveness. The importance of intellectual property is retained in the government programme, with the aim of encouraging companies and other actors concerned to integrate the various aspects relating thereto into their research and development strategies, and to enable them to enhance their products in order to benefit from competitive advantages.

Reference players

In Luxembourg, the intellectual property landscape is centered around two institutional players: the Intellectual Property Office and the Intellectual Property Institute.

An entity integrated within the Ministry of the Economy, the OPI develops the strategy and the national legislative framework in terms of intellectual property, in order to ensure an environment conducive to innovation and creation. It is in this context in particular that the OPI set about transposing the two European directives concerning copyright and related rights into national law, the two bills of which were adopted on 30 March. The Office also defends the interests of Luxembourg with the various European and international bodies. Finally, the Office is the competent national authority for the granting of national patents and the management of the register of European patents in force in Luxembourg.

Created in August 2014, the Institute of Intellectual Property Luxembourg (IPIL) is, for its part, to be considered as the first point of contact for companies. The institute develops and offers support and guidance services for companies, research actors, public institutions and any other interested public, while developing and providing training as well as promotion and awareness-raising activities. .

Aid for businesses

The Ministry of the Economy also offers, in terms of intellectual property, financial support to SMEs through innovation aid for SMEs under the aid scheme for research, development and innovation (RDI). This support takes the form of a grant or recoverable advance, which can cover up to 50% of the costs related to obtaining, validating and defending patents and other intangible assets (licenses, know-how and other types of intellectual property).

At European level, in 2021, at the initiative of the European Commission, Member States (including Luxembourg) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) set up a new European fund − “SME Fund - Ideas Powered for business” offering financial support to companies seeking to protect their intellectual property rights. Following the success of this new fund, it was renewed for a period of three years, from 2022 to 2024, with an allocated budget of €30 million. In concrete terms, this fund enables SMEs to recover up to 75% of filing fees for trademarks and designs and models, and up to 50% for patents. Grants are distributed in the form of checks which can be used for the registration of patents, trademarks and/or designs. Per SME, the maximum reimbursable amount is €2,250 (€750 for patent-related activities and €1,500 for other activities).

During the press conference, Minister Fayot said: “The protection of intellectual property rights is a key strategic factor for companies and allows them to generate more revenue and be more competitive. It is therefore essential to support both research and innovation efforts and the management and protection of intellectual property in companies of all sizes. In their efforts, they can count on the support and services of the Intellectual Property Office and the IPIL to guide them and, if necessary, request financial assistance.

Director of IPIL, Serge Quazzotti, added: "Intellectual property concerns companies in all sectors and of all sizes, which is why we must develop the capacity of all economic players to understand it well, to realize why it is important and how to take advantage of it. This is also one of the main missions of the IPIL: to raise awareness among all the players.”

Olivier Raulot, CEO of iNUI Studio, said: “As part of our participation in the EIC Accelerator, a European innovation support programme, IPIL provided us with its expertise and valuable support by carrying out a study freedom to operate patents that protect our AIR TOUCH® contactless interaction technology. This effectively contributed to the validation of the first stage of this highly selective programme.”

Christoph Bruckner, CTO and co-founder of TiQuest, clarified: “Having benefited from it, we recommend IPIL's free boost IP programme to all tech startups in Luxembourg. The one-to-one approach and personalized advice are of great added value for creators who need tailor-made support for the launch of their entrepreneurial project and not generic advice.”

The next important meeting is already set for 26 April 2022, for the fourteenth edition of the Luxembourg Intellectual Property Day on the occasion of which a conference will be organised on the subject: "Intellectual property, counterfeiting and product safety".