World IP Day was established to help the public understand how intellectual property supports the arts and enables technological innovation. This year’s theme is celebrating "Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity".
It is already well understood that to have a successful and dynamic economy every member must be allowed to play their part. But that for many groups, including women there are challenges accessing the necessary skills and resources to support their ambitions. This year’s World IP Day aims to not just celebrate our female innovators but to show the next generation of entrepreneurs that their dream is achievable.
But it’s not just innovation, we need more women involved in the IP system itself to bring fresh perspectives and experience and establish more woman-led businesses.
Diversity is a strength and this can equally apply to Rouse as whole. We are an organisation made up of many different cultures, but we are a business of majority women. With teams of IP professionals made up of both men and women, we can provide the benefits of a diversity of opinions, experiences and education.
We wanted to hear from a woman who taken that entrepreneurial step and has experienced the IP system first-hand. We were delighted that the founder of VistaFeet, Kajsa Olsson Persson, a healthcare business in Stockholm spoke to Rouse about her interactions with IP.
Kajsa, thank you very much for speaking to Rouse today. Please can you tell me a little bit about what your company does?
Our goal is to increase the status of feet by providing people with knowledge and power over their own foot health.
VistaFeet AB develops and sells tools that enables people with diabetes or other neurological diagnoses to improve their quality of life by increasing their knowledge of their own foot health so they can prevent foot ulcers and minimize the risk of amputation.
Was IP something you were already aware of when you set-up your own business?
Before founding VistaFeet AB in October 2019, I previously worked in large international companies so I was always aware of IP and and the importance of protecting it.
When you first came across IP, did you understand its importance to businesses in general? If not, what were your first impressions?
Yes and no. I have always understood that IP is important to protect against competition but not how it can benefit a company in general. It has become more apparent in the creation of my own business.
When you were establishing VistaFeet, what types of IP did you explore. What does your company now own?
When I started VistaFeet, I was advised early on to apply for a patent, which I did. However, we withdrew the patent application when we received confirmation that it most likely would not be granted.
To ensure some protection of my brand, we applied for trade mark protection. We have also discussed design protection but so far, we have not applied for it.
Following a redesign of the product, we decided to apply for a patent again and that is now pending.
How do you think IP has helped in the creation of your business. Has it enabled your business to reach a higher level?
I can’t realistically make a direct connection with IP and the success of the business. As I’m sure everyone who is involved in IP knows, the process can be lengthy and expensive! However, I believe in the long term and now that we are looking for new investors that it benefits us that we have a patent application submitted.
A patent application gives a more serious impression of the company as well as reducing the risk of someone copying our product.
IP is for everyone. But can you see that female-led businesses can particularly benefit?
As a female entrepreneur, I am judged on different criteria than men, i.e. I must prove that I have achieved things. I believe that IP in various forms can help me now when I am looking for investors. Being able to say that I have trade mark protection and a submitted patent application creates a more professional impression and security.
While I am very doubtful that a patent can keep potential competitors away it may help to delay them. Time is of the essence for us if we are to succeed in building a successful business.
Thank you very much for speaking with Rouse today Kajsa and we wish you all the best for VistaFeet.