WIPO University Initiative
At a workshop in Skopje, University IP Coordinators from Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro discover how to use free online databases to conduct basic patent searches. (Courtesy of EPO CARDS)
The WIPO University Initiative is one of several WIPO programs which encourages universities and R&D institutions in developing countries to create, protect and exploit IP assets. Participating institutions are provided with a set of IP reference materials, and a University IP Coordinator is designated in each institution to disseminate information and advice on IP matters to students and staff. The coordinators liaise with WIPO and with a contact in the national IP office, and are given access to training.
The program now counts almost 90 participating universities and R&D institutions worldwide. This enables the coordinators to become part of a network to facilitate the exchange of information and experience.
Close-up on Croatia
Universities in Croatia have embraced the scheme with enthusiasm. Three research institutions - the University of Zagreb, the Rudjer Boskovic Institute, and the Brodarski Institute – each appointed an IP coordinator in 2005. The three coordinators, assisted by the State Intellectual Property office of the Republic of Croatia (SIPO), are working together to increase understanding in their science and technology departments of how to use IP to capitalize on research results.
The coordinators have participated in regional workshops organized by WIPO in partnership with the CARDS (Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation) regional IP program of the European Patent Office. They have received training on IP management in universities, and on how to search IP information in online databases. Together with SIPO, two of the institutes are hosting further workshops this year, and all three will participate later this year in a national seminar on IP Infrastructure for the Croatian R&D Sector under the CARDS program.
The coordinators have worked jointly to put together a set of IP teaching materials and guidelines, drawing on the information package provided by WIPO. At the Rudjer Boskovic Institute, a coordination mechanism has been established between the technical faculties and commercial and legal departments in order to improve information and assistance available to scientific staff.
In May 2006, the Rudjer Boskovic Institute set up Rudjer Innovations Ltd. The agency manages the evaluation, protection and exploitation of IP generated by the Institute’s researchers, and aims to become a center of excellence of IP in Croatia. Similar arrangements are planned in other R&D institutes and universities in Croatia.
Acknowlegements: Yumiko Hamano, WIPO University Initiative
For more information on the University Initiative program see www.wipo.int/uipc/en/