This three-day workshop will involve a visit of ETN network members to IBM Research – Zurich in Rüschlikon, Switzerland, and comprise two aspects: one concerning the path to commercial exploitation of technical innovations in an industrial research environment and the other specifically covering the treatment of intellectual property. The first, more technical portion will allow PhD students to learn about future applications of photonic, micromechanical, and electronic devices as well as quantum information technology as envisioned by IBM Research. It will include a tour of the local state-of-the-art cleanroom and the highly shielded, so-called “noise-free” laboratories, as well as other facilities. An introduction will be given to innovation management, technology transfer, and in general the challenges of taking research innovation to the market from the perspective of a large corporation. It will include presentations and discussions with experts in these areas.
The second portion will be a more in-depth case study on intellectual property and patent writing. A practicing patent attorney will educate the ESRs on the different types of intellectual property, what can be protected and how, what constitutes a patentable invention, and the relative value of different sorts of inventions. Using an interactive approach, the participants will work through real-world examples, learning the structure of patents as well as details such as how to draft claims. Overall, participants will gain valuable insight into the operation of a world-leading industrial research laboratory and the path to market for innovations.