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Ideas Matter!
By: Ron Zink, Associate General Counsel
30 April 2012

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An exciting new initiative got underway in Europe yesterday called “Ideas Matter”.

It’s not another lobbying group, but an awareness campaign to get the message out about the benefits that intellectual property or “IP” has for innovation, for the economy, for companies large and small, and for consumers and society more broadly. Microsoft is one of nearly twenty small and large companies, associations and even government departments that are among the founding members of Ideas Matter.  These come from a wide variety of industry sectors – including the technology, pharmaceutical, media, food, manufacturing, and other diverse industries.

There was great participation from the European Commission (Pierre Delsaux, Deputy Director General of DG MARKT), the European Parliament (Dr. Paul Rübig, MEP), and the European Trademark Office OHIM (President António Campinos) at yesterday’s launch.  There was also a lot of interesting information provided that explained how patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, design rights and other IP work, and help innovative people and companies to fulfill their passions and succeed in the market.

Did you know, for example, that start-up companies that get their inventions protected by patents receive venture capital 76% faster than those that don’t?  Did you know that a European Commission report showed that small and medium enterprises in the tech sector in Europe which use IP, report at least 10% more growth, employment and market share than those that don’t use IP?  There’s a lot of this kind of information on the Ideas Matter website and in linked information.

I think one of the most interesting things about Ideas Matter is its “big idea” to show how real people like you and me are using IP to support their clever inventions, copyrighted materials, amazing designs and other innovations.

Trevor Baylis, the inventor of the wind up radio, and Claude Lester, designer of the Vertigro vertical garden allotment system, as well as Philippe Lacoste, grandson of the legendary tennis player and inventor René Lacoste, were all on hand yesterday to describe these innovations and how IP helped them to succeed.  You can see videos interviews with these and many other innovative people on the Ideas Matter website or on the Ideas Matter Official YouTube channel.

As Ruud Peters, Chief Intellectual Property Officer of Philips, explained: “So many of the technologies that society needs for the future – from the increased need for healthcare to clean energy – will need major R&D investments and returns that IP alone can provide…. At Ideas Matter we firmly believe that IP has a strong significance for companies as a clear business asset, for economies to boost the knowledge economy and job growth, and for real people both in their work and everyday lives.”

Ideas really do matter, and IP is a major engine for making these ideas a sustainable reality.  Have a look at the Ideas Matter website to see what I mean!

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