IP Management Valuable To SMEs

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Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman (FP)

Intellectual property (IP) management can be a valuable asset to the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

This view was expressed by Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman, while he addressed the start of a two-day workshop on Effective Intellectual Property Management by Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, at the Bagnall Point Gallery this week.

The initiative was a joint venture of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) and the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO).

The Minister stated that "intellectual property management can add considerable value at every stage… by way of: establishing an improved enterprise or business identity through an effective branding strategy; protecting innovation through patents, utility models and trade secrets; protecting the creativity of designers and authors; preventing competitors from imitating products or services; enhancing the value of the company through effective IP asset valuation and management; or enhancing access to venture capital and other sources of finance."

Making the assertion that an effective intellectual property management regime "enables SMEs to have exclusivity over the exploitation of their innovative products", the Small Business Minister noted that entrepreneurs would then aim to enhance their "international competitiveness".

He added that a basic knowledge of the IP system would enable SME operators to ably choose the elements to best suit their business, and said that: "the nature and extent of the use of the IP system should be an informed decision, based on a proper understanding of the system itself, and not on vague perceptions [or] myths …"

Minister Kellman also pointed out that the benefits which each SME may obtain from the intellectual property system would differ, due to the varying innovations produced. He explained that the innovative capacity and ability held by entrepreneurs was based on their "sector, size, focus, resources and the business environment in which they operate."

The Minister, therefore called on "modern policy makers" to "be more creative and innovative as they sought to craft the type of response that would render a more relevant IP strategy for the internationalisation of the region’s SMEs."

sharifa.medford@barbados.gov.bb

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