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Intellectual property at Enel: A tool for shared innovation and collective growth


Innovation is the driving force behind our entire ecosystem devoted to researching and creating new technological solutions that can ensure sustainable and economically advantageous growth.

However, innovation isn’t just a strategic resource that needs to be supported and incentivized, it also represents an asset that must be protected and safeguarded with the right tools if it is to be shared.

For this reason, celebrating Intellectual Property (IP)during World Intellectual Property Day on April 26th each yearplays a key role in our Group. IP allows us not only to identify and promote the most innovative solutions developed internally or in collaboration with third parties, but also to promote in complete safety the exchange of technologies and knowledge with our network of universities, research centers and suppliers. 

Innovation and creativity in a secure environment

IP is an essential tool for promoting the shared progress of the entire sector and is in line with Open Innovability® . The Open Innovability® model is consistent with the approach of our entire Group andis aimed at promoting the values of diversity and inclusion. In fact, too often women’s contributions to the advancement of the technical-scientific field are limited by structural obstacles and cultural biases. From academia to their working careers, women encounter more difficulty when asserting their roles or finding financial resources for their research, partly due to the lack of a strong network of mentors and sponsors. As a result, women accounted for only 16.2% of inventors named in international patent applications in 2022, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

WIPO dedicated the 2023 World Intellectual Property Day specifically to these women inventors and IP professionals with this year’s chosen theme, “Women and IP: accelerating innovation and creativity.” The theme highlights the need for greater involvement of women in the intellectual property system, because their inventiveness and dedication represent an essential strength in the generation of intellectual property.

This year at Enel, we are celebrating World Intellectual Property Day by conducting interviews with colleagues who can offer us two fundamental perspectives regarding IP management. The first interview is with two women who generate intellectual property, inventors Lavinia Degli Abbati and Laura di Bernardo. The second interview is with Sara Mattafirri, Francesca Balzano and Miryam Amore, women who are responsible for the protection and promotion of internal IP.


A simplified process with transversal benefits and guaranteed results

In a research and open innovation setting, such as the one we operate in, legally safeguarding the inventions which come from within our ecosystem guarantees us a twofold competitive advantage.

On the one hand, holding patents and other types of IP rights allows us to set ourselves apart from the competition, improving our market position and simultaneously increasing the possibility of attracting investment. On the other hand, the protection provided by IP contributes to further promoting our Group as a leader and reference point in the renewable energy field, as it allows us to share the breakthroughs we make while certifying the attribution of these precious intangible assets at the same time.

However, protecting an invention often proves to be a complex process involving numerous aspects from technology to design all the way to trademarks.  As a result, we have developed a system via our IP Portal that streamlines the process for our inventor colleagues to submit their requests to us. Our system utilizes straightforward and efficient guidelines, making it easier for them to complete the required forms and upload any necessary documents. All submitted requests are screened by our team of IP experts and in the case of a positive outcome the team also handles identifying the best IP safeguarding strategy to adopt for the invention in question from among the many available options.

In fact, the safeguarding of inventions can be done using various methods including patent, copyright, trade secret, design, trademark, through defensive publication, open-source schemes or a combination of these tools. This is why one of the fundamental tasks of our team of IP experts is assisting and guiding inventors in their choice of the most appropriate and effective safeguarding option, while taking into account the specific strategic needs dictated by the industry or business opportunities.

Innovation and sharing for sustainable and collective growth  

Our Open Innovability® ecosystem was created to generate value through the creation and sharing of innovative solutions developed internally and externally.

This drive to innovate is supported and incentivized constantly by our Group through initiatives aimed at rewarding all colleagues who have effectively contributed to the creation of a protectable asset. With this in mind, we established the Inventor of the Year Award which is given each year to recognize the authors of the most relevant inventions from a sustainability perspective. 

Therefore, intellectual property safeguards innovation, but above all it acknowledges talent and merit. This is why we continue to encourage employees and collaborators to submit their inventions to us so that we can support them step by step during the process. Through careful considerations and team efforts, we choose the most suitable form of IP protection and enable them to develop their projects in complete safety and freedom.

For our Group, intellectual property is not limited to meeting protective needs but also assumes a proactive advocacy role because it is the most appropriate tool for increasing the safety of collaborations and thereby contributes to the overall advancement of the entire sector. We do this by sparking shared benefits and opportunities for collective progress

This is a mission in line with our Open Innovability® model and the mission of our entire Group, which sees intellectual property as a key element to ensuring the sustainable growth of all of society.