Intellectual Property Office of Serbia (IPO) with the support of the European Comission (EC) and European Patent Office (EPO) started the project of establishing and promoting Education and Information Centre for the area of intellectual property, which will be based in the Intellectual Property Office. The aim of the project is to support the IPO in its mission consisting in raising global awareness and professional skills in the field of Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights (IPRs), while the overall objective is to assist Serbia in meeting the requirements of the Stabilization and Association process in the field of Intellectual Property. To help Serbia reach the protection level of IPRs that is required for the integration into the European Union, the IPO needs to expand its awareness and training activities by setting up an Education and Information Centre (EIC) able to provide quality IP information and education to stakeholders coming from all sectors of society.
The project is fully funded by the EC and EPO. The project started in January 2009; its program will last for three years and it comprises two different phases:
- establishment of a fully operational Education and Information Center within the IPO premises
- launch of the EIC’s activities
These phases include various interconnected tasks, starting with the creation of an appropriate infrastructure within the IPO for the EIC to perform its activities, promoting the centre and managing training of EIC staff, and, finally, placing the IPO at the centre of the network of the national IP stakeholders with the ultimate goal of improving the effective usage of IP.
EIC activities comprise: organizing trainings and lectures (workshops, etc.), promoting cooperation with all the interested parties, preparation, translation, printing and distribution of publications edited by the Office, international and regional organizations, as well as cooperation with the regional centers of the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, scientific institutes, faculties, etc. The EIC will be based on Western Europe BPs.
Apart from funding, EC and EPO will provide assistance in EIC development, including training of the IPO experts at the academy of the EPO, IT support and legal advice.
The EIC will additional emphasize the role of the IPO in building competitiveness of the economy based on the country’s IP base. The strategic role of the IPO is strengthened with the new legislative. According to the new Law on Ministries, IPO should be the central institution which would coordinate the work of other institutions in charge of intellectual property protection, and would be responsible for the development in the field of IP rights and educational-informational activities in the field of IP protection.
Apart from raising awareness in the area of IP, the benefits of the project also include:
Enhancement of knowledge and skills in the IP area
By providing information on the intellectual property and directing future efforts of the stakeholder, the EIC will encourage research and development initiatives aimed at maximizing stakeholder’s intellectual capital. This is a very important issue, as the Serbian economy needs to raise its level of innovative industrial activities. Creation of technology transfer offices (TTOs) will play a major role in this enhancement.
Building competitiveness of the economy in terms of intellectual property
Intellectual property is seen as an essential element for the development of a modern and competitive industry and therefore for the development of the society as a whole. The education and information program of the new Centre will aim at acquainting and preparing participants to undertake appropriate behaviors and strategies to foster economy by means of the right use of IPRs. In addition, the project includes IP scanning of SMEs, which will provide a quality assessment of SMEs’ business trends and their innovative behavior.
Stimulating foreign investors for doing business in Serbia
Efficient work of the EIC will affect the willingness of foreign investors to do business in Serbia in two ways. By maintaining database on IPRs, clearer picture of companies’ value and the overall state of the economy will be presented. This will enable foreign investors to plan their investment with less risk of failure, as they would have more information on companies’ intellectual capital development trend and on their sustainable growth. Database and the future experience of the EIC will also provide foreign investors with the estimation of the country’s knowledge base and intellectual capacity of the human capital.
The establishment of the efficient EIC will positively affect administrative bodies (customs, ministries…), economic operators, scientific and research development institutions, courts and general public. The Centre will develop an efficient training system for all the national IPRs stakeholders, namely judges, prosecutors, police and customs officers, trade inspectors, patent attorneys and lawyers, SMEs, research institutes, students, associations of enterprises, media, government officials, on the importance of intellectual property protection. The EIC shall also provide the general public with: permanent education resources on the social importance of intellectual property and the development of innovative activities.