At the beginning of the year, the University of Iceland signed an agreement with the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) regarding participation in the Pan-European Seal programme.
The ISIPO presented the career opportunities in the world of intellectual property rights on Career Days 2020, held on Reykjavík University campus on 30 January. At Career Days companies and institutions present their activities and vision for the future to students and other job seekers.
In February, the ISIPO participated in UTmessan, one of the largest events in the IT sector in Iceland, for the fourth time.
Borghildur Erlingsdóttir, Director General of the ISIPO, represented Iceland at a meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) where Daren Tang of Singapore was elected to serve as Director General for a term of six years. Mr Tang served as the Director General of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) for many years, and has extensive and detailed knowledge about issues concerning intellectual property rights at the international level.
The ISIPO lent its support to two “hackathons” in 2020. Hack the Crisis and Datathon for the Environment were innovation competitions where the goal was to encourage innovation and try to find new solutions to contemporary problems. The ISIPO provided participants with education about intellectual property and intellectual property rights, and how participants could maximise their the value of their innovation with intellectual property rights. In addition, a specialist from the Office was on hand to provide guidance to participants as a mentor.
A new startup accelerator, Startup Supernova, was launched in the summer of 2020 as a cooperation project between Icelandic Startups and Nova.
Iceland dropped by one place on the Global Innovation Index (GII) of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for the year 2020. Iceland is now ranked in21st place on the index, having gone up by three places on the index to 20th place last year, after being in 23rd place in 2018.
Switzerland tops the table again, followed by Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The Nordic countries are all highly ranked high like in recent years, Sweden coming second while Denmark is in 6th place, Finland 7th and Norway 20th.
The index surveys and grades the innovation capabilities and performance of the WIPO's member states, and among the factors considered are various metrics related to intellectual property and intellectual property rights, as well as the level of investment in innovation. Iceland scores relatively high in three of the seven foundations for the index: Institutions, Business sophistication and Creative outputs. At the same time, Iceland scores relatively low in the remaining four foundations: Human capital &research), Infrastructure, Market sophistication and Knowledge & technology outputs.
In the GII report this year particular attention is devoted to the financing behind innovation and the ways in which it is possible to encourage innovation-driven entrepreneurship, economic growth and increased quality of life. In light of the economic restrictions that the world is currently facing due to COVID-19, new options for the financing of research and development in these trying times are also explored.
In the report, Francis Gurry, the outgoing Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, pointed out that it is important that governments prioritise innovation in their plans of action during COVID-19: “Even as we all grapple with the immediate human and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments need to ensure that rescue packages are future oriented and support the individuals, research institutes, companies and others with innovative and collaborative new ideas for the post-COVID era. Innovations equal solutions.”
Iceland’s overall results can be seen by clicking here.
The entire GII 2020 report and its main conclusions can be viewed by clicking here.
On 1 September significant changes occurred regarding the registration of trademarks in Iceland with the entry into force of a new Trademark Act. Parliament passed the Act on 12 June 2020, thereby introducing the provisions of the Trademark Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU)2015/2436, which include a large number of changes.
Chief among them are new types of trademarks that can be registered in Iceland. This offers more opportunities for the protection of trademarks, for instance it is now possible to register audio marks, animation and multimedia marks in Iceland.
These amendments also constitute a harmonisation of the approach taken by European Union and EEA/EFTA member states with regard to the registration and use of trademarks and the term of protection that shall apply to them, and the provisions regarding related rights such as collective marks and guarantee and quality marks are set out in more detail than before.
The new types of trademarks offer more opportunities for the registration of trademarks in Iceland. Participate in a fun game and guess all the marks.
Immense technical developments have occurred in the history of the bicycle since its origins in the mid-19th century. But what role did innovation and intellectual property rights play in that process? And what will that role be in technical developments that are still to come?
This online event was organised in cooperation with Lauf Cycling and Auðna Tech Transfer Office on 7 October 2020 and focused on the importance of innovation and intellectual property rights in connection with the past and future of the bicycle and how these factors can promote progress and the value creation. The event was part of Innovation Week 2020, which was being held for the first time.
Jón Gunnarsson, Communications Manager at the ISIPO, presented an overview of how the history of the bicycle is intertwined with the history of innovation and intellectual property rights. Examination of patent documents from the last 200 years reveals that intellectual property rights have played a key role in these developments, which are still ongoing.
Benedikt Skúlason, Managing Director and founder of Lauf Cycling, gave a presentation on the company’s history with regard to innovation, the success of which is largely based on proper protection and utilisation of intellectual property.
Finally, Einar Mäntylä, CEO of Auðna Tæknitorg, went over the foundation and operations of Auðna, and how the advent of the technology transfer office in Iceland has provided parties involved in research and development work with additional opportunities to utilise innovation and create value.
Finally, an online roundtable discussion took place with Borghildur Erlingsdóttir, Director General of the ISIPO.
A recording of the online event can be found with the link here.
The app developer Heima won the 2020 Gulleggið, an innovation competition for entrepreneurs held by Icelandic Startups. The online wrap party and award ceremony for the event took place on the Friday of 16 October, where Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir, the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation, announced the winner.
Heima is an app that divides household work and the subjective burden of housekeeping equally among cohabiting individuals. The cash prize for first place this time amounted to ISK 1,000,000 from Landsbankinn.
Second place was awarded to Hemp Pack, which uses industrial hemp and micro-organisms to manufacture organic plastic that is completely biodegradable. Hemp Pack received ISK 500,000 from Landsbankinn. Hemp Pack also got the patent collaborative search as an additional prize from the ISIPO, and other additional prizes from KPMG and Össur.
In third place was Frosti, which produces Icelandic skyr flakes. Frosti received ISK300,000 from Landsbankinn. Frosti also got an additional prize from Advel Attorneys at Law.
The ISIPO has been a proud partner of Gulleggið in recent years. ISIPO experts communicate their knowledge about intellectual property in the competition’s workshops, and are on hand to assist the Gulleggið teams with protecting their intellectual property. Each year Icelandic Startups hosts the competition, which is a launch pad for entrepreneurs in every field who wish to implement their ideas. This year, about 170 ideas were submitted in the competition, by a total of about 300 people. More detailed information about Gulleggið and the competition this year can be found here.