TNO is already working extensively with start-ups, scale-ups, and SMEs. However, this isn’t always visible. And that’s a shame, because many innovative entrepreneurs don’t know what TNO can do for them or where to direct their questions. This is why we developed TNO Fast Track. A place to ask questions and get a full picture of current projects.
By creating a central place where start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs can submit their R&D and innovation questions to TNO, and by offering a concrete call for SMEs to participate, we aim to bring supply and demand closer together.
TRL, a NASA creation, is an abbreviation of ‘Technology Readiness Levels’. These levels indicate the stage of development of a new technology. This model is used to indicate the stage of an innovation project for which a subsidy is intended in many European and national funding schemes.
There are 9 TRLs. The higher the level, the closer the innovation is to the market. For more information, see: TRLs
Intellectual property (IP) is a broad term that encompasses all the intangible creations of human beings. It includes all technical and non-technical knowledge. An IP right refers to a legal right that can be obtained with respect to certain intellectual property, which provides specific protection to its owner.
Some of these IP rights, referred to as ‘unregistered IP rights’, are acquired automatically. Examples include copyrights, database rights, and unregistered design rights. Other IP rights, called ‘registered IP rights’, require registration. These include patents, trade name rights, and design rights. Many organizations, especially in the tech sector, are constantly generating IP. TNO is one of these organizations.
TNO and protecting intellectual property
TNO has a fully developed process for protecting patent rights, including a filing strategy and general patent procedures. TNO sometimes also uses other IP rights to protect its intellectual property, such as copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, and database rights. In addition, i-depots can be used to establish at what date TNO had certain knowledge, which can be useful in determining background knowledge in collaboration agreements. TNO’s innovative research leads to many inventions for new products and production processes. In order to increase their market opportunities, TNO has an active intellectual property policy.
Dutch industry access to TNO’s intellectual property
One way of making TNO’s knowledge accessible to Dutch industry is by making TNO’s inventions available to the market. In order to use (produce, sell, etc.) a (patented) TNO invention, a company must have a license under the relevant patent. This may be a non-exclusive or an exclusive (patent) license. In this way, the cost of a patent can be be spread over multiple licensees, thereby increasing the accessibility of TNO-patented technology for Dutch industry.
To encourage companies to access TNO-patented technologies, TNO has adopted an approach that spreads the cost of a patent among several parties (‘the licensees’). The total cost of applying for and maintaining a patent, calculated over the entire term of a patent, can be significant. In principle, all transactions concluded by TNO must meet the conditions of market conformity.
This means that TNO can grant a license under the same patent to several parties, with each license covering a particular application within a specific (technological) sector of Dutch industry. TNO may also grant multiple licenses by granting a license for one country to one party and a license for another country to a different party.