Many of the startups participating in Green Tech Challenge have developed new technologies or have built strong brands around their business. Some of them might benefit from creating IP rights. That’s where Awapatent comes in.

Not far from the old premises of Noma only a few feet from the Copenhagen water-front lies Awapatent. Just like Noma and the City of Copenhagen, Awapatent likes innovation. They have specialized in intellectual property; patents and trademarks. Through years of expertise, they help their clients turn ideas into sound business because great opportunities lie in innovation.

That is why Awapatent developed a strategy to focus on the start-up environment. As part of this strategy, Awapatent is one of the biggest partners of Green Tech Challenge, a growth event for European startups. At Green Tech Challenge the three founders have set out to make green business good business, and they do such a good job that Awapatent is participating in every challenge from Lisbon and Helsinki to Berlin, London and back to Copenhagen assisting the start-ups in the commercialization of IP and innovation.

“Green Tech Challenge is a well-operated organization and the start-ups participating in the challenges are interesting. For us, it is an effective way to both support the environment and get access to all these new businesses. It is very motivating for us because the founders are driven and energetic and being a part of the challenge helps us integrate better in the start-up environment,” says Lasse Henze, European Patent Attorney at Awapatent in Copenhagen.

Monday 18th of September, the next challenge will commence in Copenhagen, showcasing an interesting mix of businesses according to Lasse Henze:

“Some of them are centered around tech and they have built a whole business on the basis of this new technology. Others are clearly brand companies where their brand is crucial to selling their product. And yet some are in the intersection of these two,” he says.

If a company has developed a whole new technology they would probably be advised to look into patents. If the company instead has built a business model around having a strong brand and selling products in the name of the brand they would likely be told to look into trademarks. But in the intersection, it gets really interesting for the patent attorneys.

“Usually, the motivation for securing your intellectual property is so others can’t copy your tech – both the concrete solution and other blatant alternatives. But if you have some new technical solution and an existing brand or development of a strong brand a limited patent would be of more interest. Simply because competitors would try to be as close to your product as possible to use your brand for personal gain. A limited patent would be able to fight off spongers,” explains Lasse Henze.

Having attended several Green Tech Challenge’s, Lasse Henze has an idea of what many startups struggle with when it comes to intellectual property.

“When we look at trademarks we often get asked if this or that name is a strong trademark and if it is possible to protect it. If you choose a generic name that describes what you do in your company you’ll end up with a weak trademark and it can be a challenge to protect it,” says Lasse Henze.

Another repeat is about patents and what can be patented.

“Especially within it and software! It is a very complex field to navigate and only a few know the boundaries of what is possible and what is not,” Lasse Henze says.

But all in all, he sees that start-ups have become more aware of their rights. They know that there is such a thing as intellectual property and that it can be relevant to them. Some have even begun to actively use it. But to get the most bang for their bucks they need to become aware of how they can use their intellectual rights strategically and integrate them into their business model.

“Not everyone has come this far yet. But we can see a rising awareness, not just from the startups but from the entire environment, from investors and advisors. When more become aware of the possibilities it will have a self-perpetuating effect which moves us all in the right direction,” concludes Lasse Henze.