Patent Office: 40 percent patent applications come from the science sector

40 percent patent applications in Poland in the first half of 2013 came from the science sector, which has a high potential for innovation, but needs to improve cooperation with business said President of the Patent Office Alicja Adamczak the meeting of the parliamentary committee.

During the meeting of the Education, Science and Youth Committee and the Committee on Innovation and New Technologies, President of the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland Alicja Adamczak explained that according to the Patent Office data, in the first half of 2013 40 percent of all patent applications and utility models in Poland came from the science sector. “Research institutes have submitted 11 percent of all applications, PAS research institutes – 3 percent, and higher education institutions – 26 percent. Business sector accounts for 41 percent applications, and 19 percent come from private persons” – she said.

She emphasised that this trend also prevailed in previous years. “This means that the potential for innovation in the science sector is very high. Consequently, the most important thing is to improve cooperation between this sector and enterprises” – stressed the President of the Patent Office.

Vice President of the Polish Academy of Sciences Prof. Marek Chmielewski noted that since the mid-1990s large companies controlled by the state have been closing their R&D divisions. “Without them, there is no cooperation between science and industry, because scientists do not have anyone to talk to. However, private companies do have research divisions. Their cooperation with scientists is very positive” – said Vice President of PAS.

In his opinion, in order to improve cooperation between science and business, it is necessary to develop a political strategy. “In big Western companies, such as pharmaceutical companies, research divisions employ thousands of people. Around the world, most patent applications come from these companies” – he added.

PiS representative Jerzy Żyżyński drew attention to the need to increase funding for research, also by the companies themselves. “Global companies are successful because they spend money on research. This is the way it works: sometimes for a year or several years there are no results, and then there is a result worth millions. If we want to have results as well, we need to allocate more funds to research” – he said.

Undersecretary of State for Science and Higher Education Jacek Guliński pointed out that according to the Law on Higher Education, universities should create technology transfer centres and special purpose entities, which “would be a window to the world economy for universities”.

“These centers do not operate everywhere, and do not work as well as they should. They are understaffed. Often, directors of institutes do not appreciate the great role of these centres and special purpose companies. The nearest amendment to the Law on Higher Education introduces the possibility of a more flexible building of university system of implementation and commercialisation of scientific results” – explained Guliński.

He reminded that in the said draft amendment to the Law on Higher Education, The Ministry of Science and Higher Education proposed so-called enfranchisement of scientists, that is granting researchers property rights to their inventions. “The analysis shows that universities do not see a profit in developing inventive activity. We want to free the energy of young scholars who will see personal income and be able to carry their ideas to the stage of commercialisation” – said the representative of the Ministry of Science.

He admitted that the solution, the details of which are now being refined, has met with numerous reactions of the scientific community. Some of these voices pointed to the problems that such a solution could bring.

“The idea of enfranchisement of scientists has not met with appreciation of the scientific community, and I hope that in the course of further work of the Sejm it will be modified or completely abandoned. Only two countries in the world, Sweden and Italy, have introduced this kind of solution. All other countries withdrew from similar initiatives” – reminded Adamczak. (PAP)