BLOG: Remote innovation!

Remote IPR work – an innovation boosting opportunity! 


It was not that long ago, when it was normal to commute and have face-to-face meetings with colleagues, customers, etc. Since last March and COVID-19 the new normal has been to work primarily remotely – be it from home, the summer cottage or wherever.

This has had its implications to IPR work as well. Surprisingly, it has not necessarily meant challenges, as many pessimistic IPR experts forecasted, but rather opportunities, given that proper IPR management processes and digital tools have been in place.

Despite all the negative effects that the virus has brought into our lives, many Greip® customers have noticed IPR work to have become easier and boost their innovation activity.

In fact, the Finnish broadcasting company, YLE, recently reported that the number of patent filings last year reached a seven-year record in Finland and many of the patent applications were related to COVID-19.

Quite an inspiring impact, don’t you think?   

Disruptions like COVID-19 always create possibilities for boosting innovation activities. But also as people, be it inventors or decision makers, are not travelling, it releases time for digging up and developing old inventions from the drawer and supporting the company’s IPR operations.

As the times are financially uncertain, upper management becomes more interested in the ROI of different operations, which also means that companies’ IPRs need to become more transparent and their connection to the company’s business clearer.

All this calls for proper IPR processes and sophisticated digital IPR management tools that enable putting the processes into practice. 

Greip® is a great example of a professional and comprehensive digital IPR lifecycle management tool that makes IPR work easier, especially during the remote times. Our customers that had Greip® in place before COVID-19, have not noticed that much of a change in their weekdays – rather Greip® has enabled to continue the work as it was before, now only in a remote mode.

We discussed with a couple of our customers, namely VTT and Metso Outotec, that revealed how COVID-19 has affected their daily IPR work, the benefits that Greip® has brought into their lives and what expectations they have for the future.    

VTT has invested on solutions that gather different teams around IPRs 

The investments into new inventions and patents grew as a whole during last year at VTT.  “We have been able to get internal stakeholders, like inventors and managers, more involved in the IPR processes – be it novelty searches or filing and prosecution. This all has been easier during the remote work thanks to Greip®“, says Timo Sallinen, Patent Engineer at VTT.  

Consequently, one of the targets for VTT has been to get organizations outside of the IPR function to contribute more on IPR work, utilizing Greip® and selling IPRs. To support that, VTT’s IPR organization has created a seven-module digital IPR training program on their Intranet, which has been a success. Also, VTT’s IPR processes are now well documented, so all the elements are in place for getting people more involved.

“As to the future, remote work is something that we have now learned to live with. The biggest benefits being time savings in commuting and more options and flexibility on workplaces. Independent of what the future entails, one thing is certain: easy to use, professional, digital IPR tools are needed to enable better collaboration with people outside the IPR organization“, Sallinen concludes.  

Metso Outotec sees the benefits of keeping IPR work on a dedicated tool of its own

COVID-19 has not affected to the number of IPR filings at Metso Outotec. Rather the effects on IPR work have been on moving from office work to working remotely and utilizing digital tools more heavily.

“I see the benefits of having IPR work on a dedicated tool of its own, due to high security requirements and not to get the important and urgent IPR tasks mixed with other work tasks in other professional tools, such as emails. Thanks to Greip® we have been able to co-operate with our businesses effectively and involve them in decision making. We can also easily distribute IPR information via Greip® with relevant stakeholders across our company“, says Mikael Mäkelä (European Patent Attorney), Head of IP, Metals at Metso Outotec. 

In the future Mäkelä foresees that even if the situation with COVID-19 gets better, remote work is here to stay, and the IPR team wants to continue working that way, to the extent it is possible. “This also makes it important that the IPR tools are easy to use and that they take varying requirements of different jurisdictions into account”, Mäkelä concludes.

Are your IPR processes and tools up to the standards of the new normal? 

As described by our customers, the new normal requires more transparency to IPRs throughout the whole organization, ability to collaborate with different stakeholders more easily, and the possibility to put the IPR processes into practice.

In case you are wondering, whether your current situation is up to these standards, please do not hesitate to contact our team of IPR professionals that can help you in creating, documenting and implementing your IPR processes with Greip® IPR Management solution. Let us boost your innovation activities together! 

Let’s be in contact!