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Malta Enterprise offers mentoring for IP management

Malta Enterprise, through its Business Advisory Scheme, is offering mentoring services in intellectual property management and will contract a consultant on behalf of applicants registering their interest in patents.

The scheme has been designed to help companies preserve their intellectual property rights, the drivers of innovation and creativity.

Enforcement of exclusive rights allows inventors to publicly disclose the information, technology and know-how to others while being protected. This prevents third parties from copying an invention, and allowing them the option and opportunity to improve on the existing invention, and so generating new knowledge.

The European Union has been at the forefront of global attempts to protect intellectual pro-perty rights and fight counterfeiting.

The European Patent Office, established in Munich in 1977, was set up to improve cooperation of the protection of inventions within Europe.

This has since then expanded and is the second largest European organisation, employing 6,800 employees from 30 nations with offices in The Hague, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels.

Malta became a party to the European Patent Convention and Patent Cooperation Treaty in 2007. Between 2001 and 2010, 2,793 patents were filed in Malta, according to figures held by the Maltese Intellectual Property Directorate. Since 2007 there has been a drastic decrease in patent registration with the Maltese directorate as inventors prefer to apply directly to the EPO.

The benefit of this latter option is wider protection coverage obtained in a number of EU countries through a single application and thorough checks are carried out to ensure no infringement.

However, there are drawbacks when registering a patent with the EPO. There are, first of all, much higher costs when registering and secondly, a more complex bureaucratic and fragmented application procedure exists.

To be able to minimise these drawbacks, EU member states including Malta have been working on a unitary patent that will be optional and co-exist with current patent systems.

This unitary patent is expected to enter into force in 2014. Once in effect, it is expected to bring about a drastic change in the Maltese IP scenario.

Information and documentation on the scheme can be downloaded at http://support.maltaenterprise.com/index_files/advisors.htm . Alternatively contact Malta Enterprise on 2542 0000 or e-mail [email protected].

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