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Ways of managing intellectual property - a Slovenian case study

A group of Slovenian experts  working on improving environment and food safety participated at three AISAB workshops, followed by an open discussion with the coach, the result of which is a list of ideas for implementation.

The company

EFOS d.o.o. is an innovative company from Razdrto near Postojna, Slovenia, employing 22 individuals from the fields of informatics, biology, agronomy, veterinary and marketing. They represent themselves as a group of experts who have extensive experience in the development of complex and comprehensive information solutions related to improving the environment and food safety worldwide. Together they have developed an innovative product called Trapview, which is basically an automatic, energy-independent trap for pests in agricultural food production. Its purpose is to keep pests so effective that food is produced with the most optimal use of protective agents. The product can be used in fruit and vegetables growing, growing of cereals, soybeans and even forestry. It is an automated pest control system consisting of a pheromone trap for pests, an innovatively designed information system for automatic collection of data on pests caught in it and applications with powerful analytical tools that enable the user to effectively monitor and respond to the situation on the ground. The results of using Trapview are visible in smaller environmental impacts and improved profitability of growers. The system also has many benefits for agricultural consultants and researchers.

The company operates from Slovenia, their product is present in 40 countries, their agencies are located in North America, Italy and Brazil, and they want to expand to the Chinese market. It is represented and marketed as an innovative company, and they have received several awards of the Chamber of Commerce of Slovenia for the most innovative company. They own several Slovenian patents and they are currently in the process of obtaining a European patent.

The innovation and impact

A set of three workshops was followed by an open discussion with a more detailed presentation of the selected topic and exchange of opinions and as part of an expert lecture, we presented the ways of managing intellectual property that we linked to their business and organization. The participants were satisfied with this kind of work, and during the course of the session, they presented some of their ideas, which we then supplemented together:

  • More frequent monitoring of the dynamics of the development of similar patents, which would give the company more insight into their competition. They need to monitor which patents (European, international) the competition already has. They should again consider obtaining an international patent for their product. Even though they are not present in all the countries that have such an offer, the international patent is still the most respected. This would give them a competitive edge over other providers of such product/services, especially in the US, Australian and Asian markets.
  • They should also check the competition in breadth (also patents and products that are launched only in their market segment)
  • Establish an internal record in which they should record what business secrets should be and what should be included in the patent. This will give them a better overview of ideas; they will be systematically used in patents or intellectual property protection. Thus they can also decide what will be made available to their employees.
  • Consider new ways of collecting and reviewing the data obtained. We suggest cooperation with the Faculty of Computer and Information Science and the Faculty of Mathematics, Science and Information Technologies, where researchers are dealing with new ways of pattern recognition.
  • Co-operation with universities should be strengthened, in particular, to pursue several master’s and doctoral degrees and transparent expert papers in which researchers would use/indicate their product. When using their product for research purposes, they can set their requirements as well as terms and conditions and also affect the information they are willing to provide and finally publish.
  • Considering that they alone mostly deal with patents because they do not trust Slovenian patent agents, we propose a reflection on employing someone or a long-term cooperation with someone who specializes only in their field.
  • With the help of a business model canvas, we create a product for the selected customer segment (Appendix).
  • Another idea for EFOS: A Public Call for the Voucher to Protect Patents, Designs and Brands.