Attention to Innovation. Editorial

(IPRinfo Special Issue
September 2006)

Marja-Leena Mansala
LL.M., Secretary General of the IPR University Center

There are four priorities for EU Finland’s Presidency: the future of the EU, competitiveness, external relations and justice and home affairs. The Prime Minister stated in his speech that improving the EU’s competitiveness comes high on Finland’s agenda. Particular attention will be given to innovation, and Finland intends to focus on initiatives promoting the effective use of innovation.

Innovations normally include inventions, copyright and design. The utilisation of innovations also requires efficient marketing. Creations of different kinds of trade mark and knowledge about marketing rules are part of marketing. All in all, the efficient utilisation of innovations also requires the efficient utilisation of IPR system.

The efficient utilisation of IPR system requires knowledge about the system. Knowledge requires education.

Innovative activities take place among different players and are usually based on research. Research results should be utilised as efficiently as possible no matter where the innovations originated; during university research, co-operation, research projects or companies.

The utilisation of innovation is teamwork. Skills required for commercialisation are very different from those in research communities. Everyone should be able to concentrate on the areas they know best. Gathering together and coordinating the skills from different professions benefits all and saves resources.

The changing environment also challenges the structures governing society, such as legislation, administration and different institutions. The multi-level regulations make the situation significantly more complex. The applicable means may also vary considerably between different areas of technology and markets.

The IPR systems are becoming more international. Developing IPR into internationally functioning mechanisms has highlighted the different needs of developed and developing countries. Exploitation of the rapidly changing technology shakes IPR systems to the core. Founded in the 19th century, the system is in need of reflection over what its goals and means are supposed to be.

The international development and changing environment highlight the importance of national knowledge and know-how.

Innovation activities can be improved by developing and adapting the national IPR system. To do this there is a necessity for a national programme for IPR infrastructure, at least in an economy like that of Finland which emphasises innovation.

Marja-Leena Mansala, LL.M., Secretary General of the IPR University Center, has a long experience both in courts and in the business world.