Each month we introduce you to a member of our Ambassador team. This month: Vaclav Suchý, our Ambassador in the Czech Republic, who is part of the Technology Centre ASCR, Prague.
Could you briefly describe your core expertise and field of activity within the Enterprise Europe Network? What are key services you offer to your clients?
I deal with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) aspects related to R&D activities, particularly those undertaken by innovative SMEs, as a part of a broader innovation support provided by our Department of Business Development. I organise awareness-raising and informative actions like seminars and workshops, write and/or translate papers and provide personal “first IPR-aid” consultations to companies and entrepreneurs on various IPR related problems.
What does it mean to you to be a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador? And what do you like most about it?
To me, being a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador is a prestigious and responsible task, which perfectly synergise with my other IPR-related activities. I appreciate the possibility to freely use and distribute various IP Helpdesk products for the benefit of our local clients. Another important aspect, which is also to be mentioned, is a constant technical and organisational support provided by European IP Helpdesk representatives as well as a possibility to invite experts of the team to our local IPR events.
How would you describe the internal interaction and cooperation with your Enterprise Europe Network colleagues?
The workplaces of many of my EEN colleagues, who provide assistance on technology transfer and consultancy on innovation support grants, are located in Prague, within the very Department of Business Development. This convenient arrangement enables easy and effective interactions for the benefit of our clients. In fact, we often signpost our clients from one specialist to another, as the questions they raise often revolve around a number of mutually interrelated problems (e.g. grant programs, IPR issues, technology transfer aspects etc.).
In your opinion, what are current “hot” topics and questions related to IP in your region/country?
There are three “hot” IPR topics, which our clients frequently address. These are: 1. trademarks including newly introduced types of EU trademarks (trademarks are currently the most popular registered IP tools among Czech SMEs), 2. recent developments concerning the European Patent, and 3. various IPR strategies, which SMEs may use to protect and commercialise their intellectual property.
What are major challenges SMEs face with regard to IP? And what kind of support is needed, you think?
Two issues, specific to Czech SMEs, are currently the most urgent. First, many SMEs still lack a full understanding about the importance of IP for company growth and how various forms of IP can be protected. Second, many, if not most of SMEs, do notpossess relevant financial sources to meet the costs of internationally registered forms of IP. The first problem can be partially solved via a systematic effort of relevant national and EU institutions, including the Enterprise Europe Network. The lack of financial sources for IP protection, however, is more difficult to solve, at least immediately.