Markets The patent activity in R&D

Author / Editor: Roman Dvorak, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher, MM Industrial Spectrum, Czech Republic / Susanne Hertenberger

Czech Republic – Growing importance of creating, applying and diffusing innovation for the performance and competitiveness of national economies increases the need for international comparisons of innovation performance.

Patent applications filed under the PCT
Patent applications filed under the PCT
(Source: OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard)

The Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS) represents the key analytical tool for innovation performance comparison of European countries. According to the overall comparison of innovation performances, the Czech Republic is during the whole period among “moderate innovators”, which makes it third of the total four performance groups of countries. Nevertheless, compared to the average innovation performance of the EU, the development of the Czech innovation performance mostly tends to convergence. The main weaknesses of the Czech innovation system were identified as the low availability of financial resources and qualified labour force for R&D, and other knowledge-intensive branches as well as unsatisfactory utilisation of tools for the intellectual property rights protection.

Significant bottleneck

An effective knowledge transfer between research institutions and the industry is a significant bottleneck in the national innovation system. CR adopted in recent years a series of systemic measures aimed to stimulate the orientation of R&D organisations towards the generation of knowledge directly applicable in the innovation process and more generally to improve the collaboration of R&D establishments with the industry. In the majority of programs, supporting the applied research patents and industrial designs and utility models are among the anticipated results. The methodology of the evaluation of R&D organisations implemented in the second half of the last decade brought financial bonuses for the creation of results in the category of industrial property. Despite this stimulus, CR lags behind the technologically advanced EU countries in patent activities.

Limited commercial usability

The experts from the Czech Technology Centre CAS published a study on the comparisons of protection of industrial property rights in the Czech higher education institutions and governmental R&D institutions with selected EU countries. They make use of a couple of quantitative indicators to assess the quality and the technological and commercial potential of the produced industrial property. Despite a dynamic growth of the patent applications in the CR, the number of patent applications relative to the size of the country is far below the EU-15 average. Czech research organisations contribute to a higher extent to the number of patent applications than do the analogous institutions in EU-15 countries where the majority of patent applications come from the industrial sphere. The Czech research organisations mainly limit the patent rights to the Czech Republic, whereas in the EU-15 countries, the opposite is preponderant and only a small fraction of patent applications remains limited to the national environment. Thus the majority of the Czech patents created by research organisations cannot be commercialised on the international scene nor can contribute to the international competitiveness of the Czech industry. The patent applications submitted by Czech research organisations are significantly less cited. This indicates that the protected intellectual property is of lesser importance. The methodology of the evaluation of research organisations that was implemented in the second half of the last decade has visibly stimulated the patent activities of the research organisations but simultaneously, an absence of any assessment of a future commercialisation promoted a production of intellectual property of a limited commercial usability.

This article appeared in www.maschinenmarkt.international.

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