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James Robey, Partner at Wilson Gunn, spoke at the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Horizontal Innovation conference in London yesterday to advise businesses on intellectual property in cross-sector collaborations.
Horizontal innovation, a term coined by the IET, is described as the effective transfer of knowledge and technology from one sector to another. The IET believes that bringing together different industries and sharing their knowledge and skills, businesses can potentially unlock huge commercial benefits and find solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.
This week’s 2-day conference aimed to raise awareness of horizontal innovation and encourage businesses from the engineering community to consider how they could engage in cross-sector collaboration.
The conference also sought to address any concerns businesses may have about collaborating with a third party, particularly regarding intellectual property.
James Robey, a qualified patent and trade mark attorney, explained:
“Companies often have a defensive mind-set when it comes to intellectual property control in any collaboration. They are worried about losing competitive advantage and losing control over their intellectual property by revealing information that would otherwise not be shared.”
James sought to ease these concerns and highlight the benefits of horizontal innovation in his talk at the conference.
He commented: “Horizontal innovation relies on collaboration between businesses from different technology fields, making them less likely to covet each other’s intellectual property, and making it more likely for a much more streamlined sharing of any intellectual property resulting from the collaboration.”
The benefits of this are likely to include shorter contract negotiations; both parties gaining intellectual property rights relating to the developments that they will benefit from, commercially; and encouraging businesses to share information and take on board ideas outside of their sector’s traditional thinking.
To find out more about horizontal innovation, visit the Institute of Engineering and Technology website.