Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI) recently hosted leading innovation and intellectual property (IP) experts who shared their knowledge and perspectives with the wider research and innovation community, as part of QF RDI’s ongoing efforts to support local technology startups and nurture entrepreneurship in Qatar.
Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President for Research, Development, and Innovation, Qatar Foundation, said: "QF RDI is committed to nurturing a thriving research and innovation ecosystem in Qatar, and to empowering researchers, technology entrepreneurs, and industry professionals to contribute in novel and innovative ways.
“We are delighted to host and collaborate with our national stakeholders and industry leaders whose expertise in different spheres of technology innovation serve to inspire Qatar’s techpreneurs to pursue their start-up ambitions with commitment and enthusiasm.
“The valuable insights and guidance provided during these sessions will undoubtedly help our researchers and entrepreneurs make informed decisions as they develop and secure their innovations, contributing to the success of our collective endeavours to deliver impact for Qatar and beyond.”
Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), part of QF RDI, hosted Mr. Elijah Mayfield, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Carnegie Mellon University, US, who was named on the ‘Forbes 30 under 30 in Education’ list for 2017. After launching a technology startup that stemmed from his PhD research, Mayfield successfully secured grants and contracts from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the US Department of Education, and subsequently sold the startup without venture capital funding.
In his talk, titled ‘Moving from Research to Entrepreneurship’, he discussed the various stages of entrepreneurship, from identifying a need in the market; testing new product ideas and getting early user feedback; hiring the right team; and making the progress necessary for a startup to be acquired in the tech industry.
Dr. David Stork, a distinguished scientist and prominent ambassador of technology innovation, delivered an engaging talk titled ‘Insider's View of Silicon Valley Technology and Culture’. He shared his personal experiences of working in academia, top technology companies, and serving on the boards of startups.
Discussing the phenomenal success of Silicon Valley, the world's leading centre for technological innovation and associated businesses, Dr. Stork pointed to the role of government support, elite academia, venture funding, internationalism, technological optimism, and embracing a culture of risk.
Industry experts from Qatar and the US led the QF RDI Intellectual Property workshop, which provided attendees with a multi-faceted overview of topical IP issues. Speakers from the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Department in Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry included Dr. Ebrahim Alromaihi, Head of Copyright and Related Rights Office, who provided an overview on copyright registrations in Qatar, and Eng. Muna Al-Noami, Patent Engineer, who discussed patenting in Qatar and how to seek international protection.
Mr. Matthew Dicke, Partner and IP Practice Lead at K&L Gates, US, focused his talk on Patent 2.0 and the process for international applications. He also shared updates on changes relevant to ICT-related patenting since the Alice ruling by the US Supreme Court, which states that an abstract idea does not become eligible for a patent simply by being implemented on a generic computer. This decision has significantly reduced the harm caused by vague and overbroad software patents.
QF RDI also hosted Mr. Richard Stokes, Director of Innovation at Dublin City University (DCU), Ireland, and CEO of Invent DCU Limited, the incubation centre at DCU. Delivering a talk on ‘Innovation, Commercialisation and Enterprise Initiatives’, Mr. Stokes – a seasoned expert in developing start-up companies in the ICT sector – shared strategic insights on the commercialization of research, collaborative links between academia and industry, and sustaining a vibrant innovation culture.
Offering valuable advice to entrepreneurs, he highlighted how research can be taken into the marketplace, what it takes to grow technology startups and businesses, and the importance of accepting and understanding failure, all of which can provide a head start in the innovation business.