Services to the Members – IPR University Center Association

(IPRinfo, Special Issue
September 2006)

Risto Paananen

In March 2002, the IPR University Center started to operate as a separate institute founded by five Finnish universities. The Institute carries on the functions of the intellectual property institute that was earlier run by the IPR University Center Association (founded in September 1999). The Institute coordinates and promotes education of and research into issues of intellectual and industrial property rights.

The Association still functions as an important supporting association for the institute. The members of the Association represent various organisations, public bodies, and companies. The major sponsor of the association is Nokia Corporation. You can find a list of the members on the web site of the Institute.

Link to the World of Business
For IPR University Center, the Association serves as a necessary link to the ”real world” of business. The members support the activities of the Institute not only financially but also by lecturing in seminars and writing articles on their expert areas. Graduate students have also been able to feel their contribution in the form of excursions and support to final papers on IPR issues.

As well as wishing to support research and education in IPR law, the members are, naturally, interested in the benefits the Institute may give them. The members get reductions in all commercial services produced by the Institute (courses, seminars, magazine). They are also entitled to use information services of the Center and borrow material from the reference library.

Useful – but too university oriented
– We have participated in seminars organised by IPR University Center both as speakers and attendees. The Center also serves as a discussion forum for various parties active in the area of IPR both domestically and internationally, says Kaisa Fahllund at Hannes Snellman Attorneys at Law Ltd.

– Hannes Snellman has operated in the international field of IPR law for decades. We appreciated the possibility to be able to support the development of IPR knowledge and training in Finland, says Fahllund, who is the head of the Technology and Litigation Group at Hannes Snellman.

Jouko Yli-Kauppila, Senior Vice President at Metso Corporation, has made an extensive career within the company in the field of intellectual property rights, from R&D to IPR management.

– The significance of industrial property rights in business has been on a constant rise, for us and other companies alike. Therefore, it is important to develop knowledge and competence of IPR both in research and in education. We believe that in the long run this will be beneficial to all companies working globally, says Yli-Kauppila.

He thinks the membership in the Association has been useful for the company, although he would like the Center to be more oriented toward the world of business reality.

– IPR University Center has been more academically oriented than we anticipated. Nevertheless, we have benefited from the membership for instance in the form of contacts it has helped us make. The seminars organised by the Center we have to some extent used as further professional training of our personnel, says Yli-Kauppila.

European patent attorney, Pia Hjelt from Borenius & Co considers the founding of the Center important for improving general knowledge on the IPR field.

– In our office we regarded the Center as the best way of coordinating undergraduate education, as well as supporting and directing advanced students to specialize and become experts of this field.

Hjelt herself has participated in a number of seminars and meetings organised by the Center. In her view they have provided her with just the kind of specialised information she had required at the time. As a member, a company is also entitled to use the information service in the institute. She is satisfied with the service:

– It has been a way of rapidly getting the particular information we need on highly specialised issues that lie at the limits of our own professional competence.