World Intellectual Property Organization

The Danish Patent and Trademark Office- Assisting SMEs to make use of the IP system

Introduction

In order to encourage the Danish SMEs to make use of the intellectual property system, the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) has embarked on a two-track approach. The first approach is to take domestic measures focused on supporting SMEs to overcome the challenges related to effective use of IP system (intellectual property system). The second approach is to initiate, through the government, within the framework of the European Commission and the European Patent Organisation, measures on the European level aimed at encouraging SMEs to use the IP system.

In 1999, the DKPTO published a discussion paper entitled "Industry Policy in Denmark," which was initiated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. It reviewed Denmark’s IPR regime and made proposals on what should be done in Denmark and in Europe in order to strengthen the IPR system and at the same time encourage enterprises, in general, and SMEs, in particular, to make use of the intellectual property (IP) system. For more details, see www.dkpto.dk/english

Awareness Building

The Danish Government has initiated a two-year project with the objective of strengthening the Danish IPR culture. The expected result of the project is having enterprises armed with more effective IP management tools, which will enhance companies’ competitiveness. In this project the DKPTO has developed IPscore® which is a new practical management tool that can be used by all companies to manage and evaluate their patents and trademarks. The IPscore® model is a qualitative tool that can give a picture of the strategic value for companies of a patent or a trademark. IPscore® forms a basis for evaluating to which extend companies must act in order to increase the value of their rights.

The DKPTO gives special attention to its activities aimed at supporting Danish SMEs to protect and exploit their intellectual property. The DKPTO has established a call centre with the objective of handling intellectual property related inquiries of SMEs. The centre provides thorough guidance on intellectual property matters and on commercial services of DKPTO. It is estimated that the centre handles about 150 telephone inquiries daily.

One employee has specifically been assigned to deal with SME matters. The expert works closely with technology information centres (TICs), institutes for advanced technology (GTS) and the innovation environment centres and organises visits to companies and offers lectures on IP.

The DKPTO also provide library services. Main users of the library are SMEs. Users can access, free of charge, Danish and foreign patent information. In addition, users can access information on utility models, trademarks and industrial designs.

The DKPTO has launched, a communikation concept – profitgate- with the aim of disseminating strategic IP knowledge to SMEs. The concept consists of a web site www.profitgate.dk (in Danish), a red direct line within the DKPTO to which potential user can call to have more information, IP articles to the media, rounds of presentations in co-operation with the business sector in Denmark etc.

On an annual basis, the DKPTO provides 30-40 awareness-building courses. Participants to such courses include SMEs representatives.

Cost Reduction in Patent Acquisition

In the framework of the European Patent Organization (EPO), the Danish Government has suggested that member countries be allowed to choose two languages of which one must be English, French or German. This means that a patent applicant would have to make a maximum of three translations when applying for patent in the EPO region which would considerably reduce patenting costs associated with translation.

Recognizing the value of IP Assets

A new Danish Company Account Act recognizes the value of IP asset as an independent item in official company’s annual accounts. This would help enterprises including SMEs to clearly highlight their IP assets and use them for marketing or enterprise valuation purposes.

In 2001 the DKPTO introduced a new model for the management and evaluation of IPR, called IPscoreâ . The model which is available on a CD-ROM, provides a number of factors for the management and evaluation of patents and trademarks. Enterprises can obtain the CD-ROM free of charge. The main objective is to equip companies with means of assessing and highlighting the value of their IPR.

More Effective Enforcement of IP Rights

In order to make IP enforcement more effective and less costly, the Danish Government is analyzing the following measures:

- Reduce the number of courts handling IP proceedings and increase the number of judges with expertise in IP issues so as to cut down the average duration of proceedings and also strengthen enforcement of IP rights. The reduction of the number of courts dealing with IP matters would enable judges to accumulate more experience by hearing more lawsuits of this kind than before.

- To employ technically skilled judges to hear all infringement proceedings in order to speed up the proceedings.

The Danish government has submitted a proposal to the European Commission for the establishment of a European insurance scheme. In June 2001, the DKPTO published a report "Economic Consequences of Legal Expense Insurance for Patents" which suggests that high litigation costs are the main disincentive to SMEs to engage in R & D activities and in using the patent system. The report therefore calls for the establishment of a European insurance scheme for patents.

Contact address

Tel: +45 43 50 80 00

Fax: +45 43 50 80 01

E-mail: pvs@dkpto.dk or visit DPTO web site at http://www.dkpto.dk/english

Explore WIPO