The Group considered, and made proposals for improving, the “valorisation” of patents by SMEs in Europe. By the way, is IP Draughts alone in hating this made-up Franglais word, which looks like it might mean valuation or even validating, but actually means something like creating value from?
The Expert Group made several recommendations, including one about setting up an IP Exchange, which sounds very similar to one of the Hargreaves recommendations. The Group was keen to find ways of encouraging IP licensing activities. But what really caught IP Draughts’ eye was the following:
The Expert Group recommends that the European Commission encourage Member States to provide support, including possible financial support to ad hoc services to support patent valorisation by SMEs at Member State level. These services could be set up on a local basis and provide (i) legal, commercial and managerial support to patent valorisation and/or (ii) financial support to help develop technology prototypes… The Expert Group encourages the use of vouchers to externalise support services to accredited private consultants…
IP Draughts is not entirely sure why there needs to be a voucher, rather than just paying SMEs’ legal costs. Perhaps there is a fear that SMEs will spend the money on beer, rather than investing in legal advice?
It seems unlikely that the UK Government will want to subsidise legal services for business activities, at a time when it is perceived to be dismantling most of the Civil Legal Aid system.