7.3.5 Case Studie

Developing an IP Strategy in the ITC Sector - Eidon Ricerca Sviluppo Documentazione 1
S.P.A. Eidon Ricerca Sviluppo Documentazione S.p.A. is a private and independent Engineering and Contract Research Centre located in Udine and Trieste, in the northeastern part of Italy. Acknowledged by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research as a highly qualified laboratory in the fields of information and electronic technologies, Eidon supports other companies providing innovation by R&D outsourcing.
The competitive environment of the applied research in ICT sectors is highly dynamic and subject to a rapid technological evolution. The company considers it crucial to monitor technological changes and advancements that could be critical for the company’s competitiveness. In the last 4 years the company has established an informal technology monitoring activity with professional staff devoted to it.
The monitoring includes studies and informal surveys to identify competitors and is carried out using the Internet with "human" filtering, consultation of specialized press, participation in conferences and workshops at national and international level, co-operation with Universities and other research centres, visits and market analysis, use of patent databases (seldom used) and the acquisition of reports from information providers (seldom used).
Since its foundation, in 1979, the company has used trademark protection to create a solid corporate identity and a strong external image. Trademark protection has been associated with the company’s logo, a double arrow representing the idea of researching deeply into a subject and re-emerging with a solution.
The company regards patent protection as being very important for innovative, high-technology solutions and has granted 15 patents in several areas such as the brick industry, ceramics, chemical/petrochemical, food, pharmaceutics, marble processing. However, in the case of incremental innovations, when time-to-market becomes more critical than technology issues, the company considers that obtaining a patent can result in the early disclosure of strategic information which is easily accessible to third parties, Therefore, when software intensive solutions are involved, Eidon relies on copyright protection.

Eidon’s original software is protected by copyright. Access rights to software, based normally on an exclusive license model, do not usually include access to the source code, which may be granted only in exceptional cases and can be made subject to separate agreements.

Eidon’s standard R&D contract is an interesting mix of different IP tools, which reflects the complexity of its contract research activities. Frequently the interests of customers and R&D centres do not converge when it comes to patentable knowledge created within a project. The customer wants the exclusive right of exploitation, while the R&D organisation wants to use their knowledge for further development. Acknowledging this dilemma, Eidon has adopted a compromise solution to safeguard the core interests of both sides which is based on the following three elements:

  • confidentiality
  • recognizing Eidon’s IP rights in the basic technology
  • recognizing that the customer may wish to secure IP rights in a specific application

Eidon’s IP rights are protected mainly at national level, even though the company has applied for a few European patents. The application process is carried out with the advice from external legal experts, who are responsible for the correct implementation of the different IP protection tools chosen.

1 www.wipo.int/sme/en/case_studies/eidon.htm