Although the culture of protecting industrial property is on the rise, companies do not as a general rule protect their creations.
The aerospace industry is an exception to this. Historically, it has always been ranked among the industries applying for the greatest number of patents in Europe (European Patent Office).
A company should dedicate itself to innovation to continue being competitive in the market and to retain talent within the organisation.
Holding a patent grants the right to exclude others from manufacturing, using or marketing the patented product or procedure in the countries where it has been patented and it is therefore protected. A product or procedure has to meet certain characteristics for it to be patentable. It has to be new, involve invention and have an industrial application.
There are several kinds of industrial property rights:
- Industrial designs: which protect the external appearance of products.
- Trademarks and trade names: which protect combinations of graphics and names that help the market differentiate products and services from other similar products and services offered by other market players.
- Patents and utility models: which protect inventions consisting of products and procedures susceptible of being copied and repeated for industrial purposes.
- Semiconductor topographies: which protect the arrangement of the different layers and elements which comprise an integrated circuit, their three-dimensional layout and their interconnections.
What could happen if we fail to patent?
- We lose the exclusive rights generated by the patent. Hence, we become more vulnerable against our competitors.
- Industrial secrets are an alternative to patents. These, however, are very hard to keep when a company is growing and hinder the company’s advertising in the market.
- We cannot get in touch with investors to seek finance without a patent ensuring our idea’s exclusivity.
- Without registering a product or trademark, it will be more difficult to implement a company’s globalisation strategy. We would be bereft of the necessary protection to negotiate with potential distributors or manufacturers in other countries and would lack the assurance that they will not copy our inventions, thus leading to a loss of international business opportunities.
- It would be impossible to negotiate the technology with third parties and accurate information on industry trends would be unavailable. Neither could commercial decisions aimed at maximising profits be taken.
There are two main reasons why a company should dedicate itself to innovation: to continue being competitive in the market and to retain talent within the organisation. That is why it is essential to make the innovation process a strategic objective. Developing internal initiatives is an outstanding way to achieve a company’s growth.
An increasing number of companies are implementing a variety of initiatives to encourage their workforces’ entrepreneurial spirit. This practice, which enables a company’s employees to take advantage of their talent, is an outstanding way to undertake business in which everyone turns out to be a winner. Hence, organisations make the most out of their workforce’s potential and employees gain recognition, visibility, promotion, learning and motivation.
In order to ensure the aeronautical industry’s future success, it is essential to continue moving forward in R&D&I and bolstering the culture of protecting industrial property. Each of the organisation’s members plays a fundamental role in this task.