The Foundation for Finnish Inventions supports and promotes the development and exploitation of Finnish inventions. Legal advice and financial support for patenting inventions is an important part of the activities of the Foundation.
The Foundation is an important source of advice and support for private inventors as well as researchers and SMEs in Finland. The activities of the Foundation may be grouped into six categories corresponding to six different phases in the development of an invention:
- Promotion of inventive activities
- Evaluation of inventions (market potential, novelty and inventiveness, business potential, etc)
- Advisory services (invention-specific advice, IP rights, other advice)
- Financing of protection of inventions (patents and other IP rights)
- Financing of product development (planning and design, prototype development, technical and commercial advice)
- Financing of marketing (including advice on licensing)
A substantial part of the activities of the Foundation relates to advisory services. The Foundation, in fact, advises enterprises on a whole series of issues ranging from technical issues specific to the invention, to assessments on the market potential of a product, assistance with the development of prototypes and legal advice for patenting and licensing the invention. Since its establishment in 1971, the Foundation has given advice to an estimated 150,000 customers.
Financing for the development and commercialization of inventions is usually provided under the following four modalities:
- "Keksi" Funding: covers the early costs of developing an invention up to a maximum of EUR 8,000. There is no refund obligation.
- Support Funding: is used for paying the costs of patenting, product development and commercialization. It incorporates a conditional refund to the Foundation depending on the success of the project and on the revenue received from it by the inventor. No interests are charged.
- Grants: provide smaller sums with no refund obligation
- Loans: provide working capital in the initial stages of commercialization of an invention to inventors and SMEs
Financing varies between EUR 1,500 and EUR 100,000 depending on the nature of the invention and its business potential. Most of the operational funds of the Foundation are obtained from the Ministry of Trade Industry of Finland.
The Foundation devotes significant attention to the protection of inventions by intellectual property rights, especially patents. The inventiveness and most commonly the patentability of an invention is considered a key criterion for the selection of the projects to be funded by the Foundation. In addition, inventors and SMEs receive legal assistance for the protection of patents in Finland and in potential export markets, as well as advice on the development of an IP strategy for the invention. Finally, during the commercialization phase, advice on licensing is provided and an inventions market exists (available on-line at http://www.innofin.com ) for bringing together inventors and potential licensees.
Over the years, the Foundation for Finnish Inventions has received 16,000 applications for funding from which 2,000 inventions have received financial support, including funding for patenting the inventions. To date, a total of 500 new products have been commercially exploited with Foundation support either by the inventor/entrepreneur directly or under a license agreement.
For more information, please contact Kari Sipilä on Kari.Sipila@keksintosaatio.fi