At InterDigital IP and Innovation Conference, European and Industry Experts say Maintenance of IP Protections is Crucial
Intellectual property protection is one of the most crucial components to strengthen the technological sovereignty and competitive advantage of France, and the European Union. At a time when emerging technologies like AI, 6G, virtual reality, and augmented reality are becoming essential for many sectors of the economy, it is important to know how to protect intellectual property and strengthen cutting-edge research in this dynamic and changing ecosystem.
France and the EU must strengthen their strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty: this is one of the obvious lessons of the consequences of the COVID crisis and the unstable geopolitical context. To enable the development of world-class European champions, companies must invest in the development of their intellectual property, but also in their ability to protect and enhance it. Intellectual property must be a central element of any innovation strategy and an essential part of French and European recovery plans.
For this purpose, patents and licenses are incentives for investments in research and development of standards.
This issue was the focus of a roundtable discussion organized by InterDigital on September 30 in Paris, in conjunction with the rollout of the France 2030 Plan and the European Union's Innovation Agenda, in partnership with France Brevets and entitled "Innovation and Intellectual Property: What Responses from France and Europe."
The event brought together several high-level experts to discuss these issues, including Innovation Policy Advisor and Access to Finance at the European Commission and Director General of Research and Innovation Marie-Josée Rodi-Andrieu, France Brevets Director General Didier Patry, AFNOR’s Director of Innovation and Standards Franck Lebeugle, Orange Group’s Director of Research Jean Bolot, and Director of R&I - R&D at InterDigital Valérie Allié.
Throughout their discussions, the speakers reviewed the most effective tools to support innovation and research, promote the strategic impact of intellectual property, and discussed methods to better protect standardized technologies.
Here are the main points discussed and the experts' analyses on them:
KEY TAKEAWAY: For innovative companies, there is a positive correlation between owning intellectual property rights and the economic performance of companies. SMEs that own IP rights have 68% more revenue (1).
- European Commission’s Marie-Josée Rodi-Andrieu shared: "Intellectual property is a source of revenue for companies and therefore for the economy of the European Union as a whole. A reliable intellectual property framework is the best way to harness creativity and enable innovative companies to grow. IP is also a key lever to support the EU's resilience and economic recovery in times of crisis. [...] This is why further progress in this area is mentioned in the new European Innovation Agenda."
KEY TAKEAWAY: Start-ups, SMEs and French and European companies need incentives to invest in research and innovation, support the development of core technologies and work towards their integration into global standards. Without these incentives, companies would lose their leadership in global standards bodies, which could also jeopardize the interoperability of technologies. One potential solution would be to make better use of existing European Commission legislation to fight countries or companies guilty of intellectual property theft or "hold out" (the practice of using patented and standardized technologies without paying the required license for their use).
According to Orange Group’s Jean Bolot, “Intellectual property is vital for large companies. The acceptability rate of patents filed, and the acceptance rate of publications are markers of excellence awarded to the company.”
KEY TAKEAWAY: Europe needs to put in place more incentives to invest in research, which is essential to achieve the EU's strategic goals, including support for the digital and green transition. The continued development of wireless technologies like 4G/5G/6G and WIFI is critical to the success of the EU's industrial policies on autonomous cars, connected machines and IoT devices, chip manufacturing and cloud computing, etc.
Didier Patry, Managing Director of France Brevets, explained: "If cutting-edge and disruptive technologies developed by innovative companies including start-ups and SMEs are used by other players without proper authorization and without a license from the company which invested in such R&D, this creates a competitive disadvantage, removes all incentives to invest in R&D and take risks, and consequently directly threatens the entire innovation and deep-tech ecosystem at a time where France and the EU invest massively in R&D-intensive and IP-rich programs. We must therefore fight vigorously against those who compete unfairly and take advantage without providing any return to the innovators who contribute to a better society."
InterDigital’s R&I Director Valérie Allié added: "The European Commission needs to recognize and emphasize the link between its overall actions and objectives and the potential negative impacts of the evolving framework for standard essential patents (SEPs). A disconnect between these two elements could reduce the return on R&D investments and discourage innovators from bringing new technological solutions to standardization processes. In general, we advocate market-driven solutions and enforcement of existing rules rather than the introduction of top-down legislation and new obligations, especially for research-intensive companies."
KEY TAKEAWAY: Successful digital transition requires systemic coordination in the development of and adherence to policies for standard essential patents. The European Union has a proven track record of defending its innovative companies in the 5G ecosystem. Today, the EU must maintain consistency and an in-depth understanding of global issues, including coordination of IP policies to support a level playing field with third countries.
Franck Lebeugle, AFNOR’S Director of Standardization Activities added: "The European standardization organizations are formidable tools for promoting intellectual property and bringing innovation to our companies at the European level and beyond. As European Commissioner Thierry Breton reminded us when the new European standardization strategy was published, it is not so much a question of changing the rules that currently prevail, but to make full use of them for the benefit of our companies and, more broadly, our industrial sovereignty."