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Improving IPR management services to SMEs engaging in peer learning activities

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INPRO (Improving IPR management services to SMEs engaging in peer learning activities)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2017-10-31

In the Creative Industries (CIs) sector - with application in the housing domain - IP is a fundamental asset for enterprises and represents, or should represent, a significant tool to trade and an incentive for individual creativity and investment in creation. Despite it, smaller CIs often have limited knowledge on the importance of IP and Rights management. Therefore, a proper valuation and better exploitation of IP to ensure the sector’s sustainability, as well as a better promotion of IP as the main incentive for creation and investment into CIs are required.
The challenge tackled by INPRO project is important for the society as it may contribute to the improvement of the knowledge of Intellectual Proprety Rights both in companies - spreading a better awareness among its entrepreneurs, managers and employees - and professionals and other people working in the businesses related to the CIs sector.
The general objective of INPRO Project was to peer review IPR support programmes for SMEs in order to improve SMEs knowledge and attitude towards IP/IPR matters as well as to transfer good practices into regional/national programmes for intellectual property management.
INPRO project intend to contribute to the qualitative improvement of SMEs knowledge on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) by improving the support that is available to them, functioning as a think-tank that identifies tests and prepares new directions within IPR innovation support.
The sector chosen to test a first line service was the Cultural Creative Industries (CCIs). This sector is increasingly at the intersection of art and technology where innovation is often a collective process that involves many heterogeneous actors whose objectives and needs differ. Those actors often combine different types of IP rights, including copyright, patents and trademarks.

During two dedicated two-days’ Peer Learning Workshops, PPs have compared their “case studies” and IPR services, discussed on how to improve services to be delivered to companies and how to adapt them to the specific sector. The Peer learning activity let partners learn from the best and share good and bad practices in IPR support services delivery. The peer-learning meetings were also preparatory for the drafting of the Design Options Paper.
The realized Design Options Paper is a “guide” or a “handbook” for other innovation agencies and other institutions in designing and implementing support programmes and services enhancing SMEs to exploit the full potential of IPR for their business and to provide similar and/or more focused IPR support services, in particular with reference to “IP First Line support service”.
Thanks to the exchange of knowledge among PPS and analysis carried out on EU Best Practice on IP support services and on the strengths and weaknesses of every PPs’ initiatives, was designed a newly developed first-line support on IP and IPR matters dedicated in particular to Creative Industries in the housing domain.
Such newly developed 1st-line assistance on IP for the CIs sector has been designed to offer companies a wide range of services to improve their knowledge of IP topics, raising their awareness of the opportunity deriving from a proper protection of IP rights, as well to improve the quality of services to be delivered by Innovation companies.
Moreover, the partners implemented a pilot action in order to test the service designed with SMEs and professionals working in the CCIs from the project partners' regions. The aim was to deliver a pilot action to verify with SMEs the consistency and assess the effectiveness of the services proposed with company needs. By this way, companies of each region had the opportunity to know more about the initiative
Each Partner selected up to 5 beneficiaries (including companies of CI sector, professionals, researchers)in their region, for a total of 15 that took part to the Pilot Action.
In order to exploit and disseminate the results, activities performed by the partners were presented through different means as partners’ newsletters, websites, seminars, one-to-one meetings with pilot action beneficiaries
The final version of the DOP was made available to relevant stakeholders on Project Leaders website and presented with seminars also at Eu Level (Brusselles – 10th Oct. 2017).
In addition, a MoU has been signed between Project partners at the end of the project to engage in more frequent peer learning activities.
INPRO project contributed to the qualitative improvement of SMEs knowledge on Intellectual Property Rights by improving the support that is available to them, functioning as a think-tank that identifies tests and prepares new directions within IPR innovation support.

The project had an effect mainly on the following field of delivery: building capacities and skills.

The project has facilitated the knowledge exchange among the partners and the acquisition of improved skills on the following matters:
- programme design capacities and IPR support services delivery through the application of the Twinning+ methodology.
- good practices in IPR support programmes for SMEs
- service delivery for a newly developed first-line support on IP and IPR matters dedicated in particular to Creative Industries in the housing domain.
In addition, users participating in the Pilot Action improved their knowledge of Intellectual Proprety Rights - spreading a better awareness among entrepreneurs, professionals, managers, employees and other people working in the businesses related to the CIs sector.

More in detail:
- 20 IP/IPR experts had the opportunity to increase their management skills on IP support services
- 15 users tested the implemented IP support service within the pilot action performed

Furthermore, on the policy side, more than 10 relevant stakeholders were made aware of the DOP contents presentation made by PPs and through the publication of the document on PPs websites..

Lastly, the adoption of the DOP and of a MoU, set the basis for building skills of the innovation agencies staff and regional experts in managing IP support programmes as well as SMEs in taking advantage from their IP protection.

Thanks to the signature of a MoU at the end of the project INPRO ensured the possibility to spread the new methodology over the innovation agencies’ community.
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