Open Innovation – Contradictio in Terminis?

Open Innovation to many lawyers is a true contradictio in terminis. The sole purpose for lawyers is to protect their clients’ best interest and a lawyer with more traditional inclinations will interpret this goal to mean that the interests of the other parties, therefore, will have to yield. That is not how I see things. In nearly all conflicts solutions can be found that safeguard the interests of all parties. For this only one basic condition is necessary, namely: willingness. If everybody at the table is prepared to look for a solution that respects the interests of all parties involved, the best innovative solutions are born. I see this in my daily practice.

Also our corporate office, real estate and intellectual property professionals work with this mindset. They are busy, on a daily basis, to set up structures in which all partners in a collaboration can exchange innovative ideas and information in a safe way. What do I mean with safe? For example that all parties sign a mutual NDA (non-disclosure agreement) before starting the actual exchange.

In many cases parties will define a way to divide any possible Intellectual Property that could be generated throughout the collaboration and grant eachother non-exclusive licenses on possible existing IP that will be necessary for the later commercialisation of the results. That is the way a lawyer can facilitate Open Innovation and as an advisor make an important contribution to the further stimulation of Open Innovation. Lawyers and Public Notaries that do not grasp this concept, separate themselves from this arena.

Just like the Red Bluejay Foundation the professionals in my office try contribute to those companies who foster exchange of knowledge and embrace novel ideas. Mostly this will be the larger high tech companies who already have experience in acting on the Open Innovation stage and know how to use co-creation. However, also start-ups are supported by us. We see that specifically these briljant, often young entrepreneurs need help in creating a safe environment so that they collaborate in a carefree manner with often larger partners. We invest strongly in these relations. Our motto is: We first need to prove our added value and build trust. This is exactly why I support the vision of Red Bluejay and enjoy to contribute to the team.

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