Intellectual Property (IP) enables people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. On the 26th of April, for World Intellectual Property Day, we spoke with Michel Caldana, Senior Consultant and IP Specialist at FI Group Belgium. By striking the right balance between the interests of both innovators and the wider public, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.
“IPR’s are an integral part of a business strategy and help achieve its objectives.”Michel Caldana, Senior Consultant and IP Specialist at FI Group Belgium
How is IP fairing in Belgium?
IP rights are mainly patents (protection of technical inventions), trademarks (protection of distinctive signs), designs and models (protection of 2D or 3D shapes), copyright (protection of literary and artistic creations including software), and other rights (databases, geographical indications, plant breeder’s right, etc.).
Every year the European Patent Office (EPO) publishes statistics on patent activity in Europe. The following can be said for Belgium:
How can intellectual property rights (IPR) be used to achieve the goals of our clients?
Just by recalling what an IPR is, we naturally speak of protection. This is essential to have rights to rely on to prohibit competitors from appropriating the creations of a company.
But this is only one aspect of IPR. Whatever its size, a company aims to grow, take market share, and position itself in relation to the competition. IPR’s contribute to achieving these objectives because, beyond the “protection” function, they are both a source of information and a means of valuing a portfolio of intangible assets.
In short, IPR’s are an integral part of a business strategy and help achieve its objectives.
How do IPR tackle local and global challenges?
Today, one of the challenges facing companies is the ability to innovate to best meet the (technological) needs of the market. In addition, the EU has set the level of R&D expenditure per country at 3% of GDP.
By putting in place tax incentives that can stimulate R&D, governments have developed incentives based on IPRs. This is the case with the IP Box in Belgium. It is for companies to exploit IPR’s (patent, software through copyright, …) in connection with R&D projects and consequently to benefit from a tax advantage for the company. This in the form of a deduction of 85% of the net income generated by IPR’s related to innovation. Thus, IPR’s have a leverage effect on business innovation.
By innovating, companies seek to meet today’s technological challenges such as artificial intelligence, green chemistry, 3D printing, renewable energies, etc. However, with its “source of information” component, the patent is one of the IPR’s that plays an essential role in the global mapping of innovations. With the support of big data analysis tools, it is now possible to digest the information contained in thousands of patents and extract technological trends, untapped domains, active geographical areas, and emerging players. The patent thus contributes to the search for solutions to technological challenges.
What do you believe lies in the future of the use of IP BOX in Belgium?
Belgium has experienced a growth of more than 3% in the number of patent filings compared to 2020. That is good news but we must look carefully at the figures: the main applicants are large groups or academics and the main sectors are those of life sciences and chemistry.
However, the Belgian economic ground is essentially composed of SME’s, startups, or even VSE’s. So there is an opportunity here with an incentive such as the IP Box: Belgian SME’s and in particular young companies, e.g. startups, would have a lot to gain by developing R&D projects involving, for example, the exploitation of patents or the development of software likely to be the subject of an IP Box. This is an immediate fiscal return on investment.
To promote the use of the IP BOX in the future, how could FI Group help you?
We have seen that IPR’s contribute to the development of innovation in companies and, therefore, the IP Box makes it possible to reduce taxation on companies.
Today FI Group has the resources and expertise to analyze the R&D and IP of companies to identify the application potential of an IP Box (in Belgium, France, Spain, …), to implement it and to defend files with the tax authorities.
FI Group has 20 years of experience and wants to support you in understanding and intercepting the available R&D+I opportunities. Our experts are at your disposal to analyze your project and take the next steps together with you.