Welcome to this week’s edition of the Keystone Column containing business stories and public procurement opportunities that drive the commercial strategy of ambitious companies. This week’s focus is on collaborative bidding. Our weekly list of open tenders in the Irish public sector is also included below.
Iceland versus Iceland
Anyone who has tried to obtain a .com domain name will confirm that almost every known word in the english (or any other) language is reserved by a cyber squatter somewhere. This week, an interesting spat broke out between the land of ice and fire (also known as Iceland or Lýðveldið Ísland in their native tongue) and a bargain UK supermarket chain called Iceland. The State (of Iceland) is claiming that naming rights owned by the supermarket chain is having a stifling effect on the capacity for Icelandic firms, exporting overseas, to leverage their country of origin status as part of their marketing.
While sympathetic to both parties respective claims, we are not optimistic for the natives of Iceland. The state seal of Ireland is (as the eagle eyed know) positioned for a left handed harp player as the more common position for a harpist is the pose most commonly seen on a pint of Guinness. The O’Neills harp is trademarked & owned by Diageo. The Irish State was forced to reverse the harp if it wanted to use the symbol.
Collaborative bidding becomes a global trend
There is a global movement at the moment towards facilitating increased SME participation in government contracts. From the United Kingdom to South Korea, there are a range of active attempts by different forms of governmental systems to facilitate increased SME participation. Some of these attempts involve reserving a certain percentage of contracts for SMEs (which we are not fans of as there are ways to do this without blunt market distortion). Other attempts involve trying to stimulate collaborative bidding by SMEs for large contracts so there is domestic competition / regional competition for global multinationals. The former can be arranged in a positive way that benefits SMEs (by only centrally aggregating expenditure above a certain value) but politicians like to be seen to (unnecessarily) intervene. This said, the latter option (stimulating SME competition for large contracts through collaborative bidding) is a clear global trend that is here to stay. We have written a number of guidance articles on collaborative bidding. A recent one can be read here.
Reimagining patent offices that aid rather than impede innovation
An interesting article in Forbes this week focuses on the changes that an incoming US President could effect to revitalise innovation culture within the United States. The key points made are:
1. Appoint A Strong, Pro-Startup Leader Of The Patent Office
Reverse the decline in our innovation economy by appointing a new Director to restore the Patent Office (PTO) to its original mission of serving the small businesses and independent inventors who made America great. A director who will reform the examination process, give patent examiners the tools and resources they need to ensure only bona fide new inventions receive a patent, and ensure that small innovators once again have a strong voice in PTO policy and programs.
2. Reform The U.S. Patent Office
Stop outsourcing Patent Office policy to the large technology corporates. This has led to a situation in which the PTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (sometimes called the “patent death squad”) kills almost 90% of all patent claims during its post-grant Inter Partes Review challenges. Seventy percent of those challenges are brought by large corporate defendants facing patent infringement suits in U.S. district courts.
3. Clarify The Patent Code
In order for the patent system to work, there has to be certainty — certainty that when the Patent Office issues a patent, it is presumed to be valid. A high hurdle for patentability is fine so long as it’s a fair hurdle that is evenly applied.
There are large overlaps between problems with obtaining enforceable patents in the EU and the current stasis in the United States. Those involved in product development should read the article and reflect upon it.
New public procurement tenders this week
Visit the Keystone website to view our take on the 500+ active public procurement opportunities with more than five days until their deadline. There are a vast range of services, supplies and construction related to public procurement opportunities in the following sectors (there are many more sectors than the sample list below):
- Construction and related trades,
- Professional & Advisory Services,
- PR, Media, Advertising and related,
- ICT supplies and services,
- Property & facilities management,
- Vehicle & automotive,
- Catering and related services,
- Cleaning and related services,
- Waste Management,
- Maintenance and related services,
- Horticultural supplies & services,
- Research & environmental monitoring,
- Printing, office supplies and related services,
- Medical and scientific research, supplies and services,
- A vast range of other services and supplies.
Businesses interested in any of these public procurement opportunities that are unsure of how they can follow-up on these tenders can contact Keystone at any stage. We would be happy to discuss your needs and where they may fit with your business growth plans. These public procurement opportunities are sources of business growth and innovation for companies across the country.
Please note, e-tenders often has public procurement opportunities incorrectly categorised so people relying on e-tender alerts could easily miss out on opportunities if they are dependent on it. E-tenders is only as reliable as the people inputting tenders and mistakes are made very frequently. The Keystone Column includes all live tenders posted on e-tenders since January 4th 2016 that have five or more days until their deadline as at November 24th 2016.