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Inventors’ Hall of Fame
June 17, 2010   
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A government-sponsored project billed as the Inventors’ Hall of Fame will be launched to honor Poland’s greatest scientists and innovators who have contributed to research and business at home and abroad.

As part of the project, special medals will be given out to leading inventors and innovators, under a declaration signed by participants of the IP Management: The Key to a Successful Economy conference in Warsaw in March.

The Inventors’ Hall of Fame will open with household names such as 16th-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, 18th-century scientist and scholar Stanisław Staszic, 19th-century inventor Ignacy Łukasiewicz, and early 20th-century physicist and chemist Marie Curie-Skłodowska, a two-time Nobel Prize winner.

New inventors and innovators will be inducted to the Hall of Fame by a group of professors, including Michał Kleiber, Katarzyna Chałasińska-Macukow and Bogusław Smólski, in addition to a host of university rectors, heads of institutions dealing with science and technology transfer, and members of communities that promote economic development through innovation. They will be aided by a contingent of Polish and foreign experts who will short-list potential candidates.

Top 50 list
During the conference, a Top 50 list of Polish businesses, institutions and organizations leading the way in terms of intellectual capital, was unveiled. Experts compiling the list rated businesses and organizations according to the number of Polish and foreign patents and utility models as well as the number of awards and distinctions these businesses and organizations have obtained at innovation contests in Poland and abroad. The evaluation criteria also included sales of patents at home and abroad and market competitiveness.

Apart from offering top quality products and services, a company aspiring for inclusion in the Top 50 list needs to have well-developed R&D facilities, complete with a team of top-caliber researchers and documented achievements in science and research, in addition to a proven record of applying research results in practice. Companies must also show that innovative products and services account for a sizable part of their annual revenue.

Innovative companies
Innovative companies with an outstanding record of intellectual property management received prizes at the conference. First prize went to the Lotos fuel group, second to the Telesto technology company, and third to the Blachownia Institute of Heavy Organic Synthesis (ICSO). Further down the list were companies such as Polymem, Common and Gros-Pol.

The Lotos group pursues innovative development in crude oil extraction and processing. It uses environmentally friendly methods that comply with Polish and European energy security policies and ensure maximum satisfaction for customers, the judges said.

The Telesto company designs, develops and markets devices and systems that utilize its patented technology to atomize liquids into super fine mists for firefighting, dust control, object decontamination, and a growing number of other applications. The company is headquartered in Warsaw and operates research and development, testing and manufacturing facilities in Suchedniów, near the city of Kielce, ¦więtokrzyskie province. Telesto works with many universities, research institutions, and certification agencies.

The Blachownia Institute of Heavy Organic Synthesis is a research and development center dealing with organic chemistry. It develops and applies chemical technology and produces and sells various chemical products. The institute deals with research projects in chemistry, and it also performs a range of tests and analyses. The institute boasts a number of publications, patents and research results that testify to its expertise, according to the judges.

Converting intellectual property into capital
The IP Management: The Key to a Successful Economy conference, the third such event to date, was held under the auspices of Prof. Barbara Kudrycka, the minister of science and higher education. This international conference on intellectual property was organized by a consortium of Poland’s six largest universities: the Jagiellonian University (UJ) in Cracow, the University of Warsaw (UW), the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH), the Medical University of ŁódĽ (UM), the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW), and the Warsaw University of Technology (PW).

“We have many people with ideas and we have many needs when it comes to innovative products, management and marketing,” said Prof. Michał Kleiber, president of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN). “However, we are still unable to convert intellectual property into intellectual capital.”

According to Kleiber, intellectual property in Poland lacks appropriate protection and the number of patents is “lamentably low.” In order for ideas to sell well, Kleiber said, a special breed of people are needed: energetic technology brokers who know the ins and outs of the legal system, have a knack for doing business, and have good contacts with enterprises. “This problem is common to all of Europe because there are absolutely no college courses specialized in intellectual property management, whereas in the United States, for example, such courses are available at dozens of universities,” said Kleiber. “This should spur us into action, and it is comforting to know that six leading Polish universities are planning to launch such a course.”

Piotr Bartosz
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