The Eurocadres blog

Protecting your Kodak moment


'You press the button, we do the rest'

George Eastman's invention of the ‘Kodak’-camera in 1888 opened a new dimension for his ‘Eastman Kodak Company’. In a minimum time his company got multinational proportions. Clients around the world sent in en masse their films with holiday snaps and the company developed the negatives and sent back the pictures to the clients.

In 1975 Eastman Kodak was an innovative firm but failed to commercialise the inventions on digital photography because they preferred to safeguard the ‘classic’ photo products. Their competitors could use their technology and therefore they lost markets. Their position transformed suddenly from a leader to a rear runner. In January 2012, Eastman Kodak was in a deep crisis. The value per share had come under one dollar.


Creativity as intangible asset

The ability to create something new and valuable lifts up individuals and teams, takes them out of anonymity and gives life and colour to an active career. The example of Kodak shows that this capacity is crucial but also that management of the intellectual property is of key importance. The development of an innovative firm requires teamwork by a whole range of professionals.   

Today professionals work in a culture of globalisation, digitalisation and open access. The work environment has changed profoundly since George Eastman's time. Today there is more mobility and flexibility; knowledge can be shared around the globe via the internet at light speed. Thomas Edison on the other hand,  accumulated not less than 2,332 patents worldwide for his inventions. One could say that the amount looks more like ‘patent commerce’ than an image of a very productive researcher.

Transfer of rights

On 1-2 September Eurocadres is organising an IPR conference in Brussels. There we hope to get insight, whether the social dialogue can play a role in the transfer of rights of creative workers to the enterprise. The insertion of a clause in the employment contract seems debatable in particular in the current context of globalisation, digitalisation and the ‘open access’ culture.

The event is designed as an open conference. We hope to bring focus on the exploratory character where conversation and dialogue is important and where we want to learn more about the views of all parties.


The author

Jan De Paepe
Treasurer of Eurocadres
LBC-NVK National P&MS Association
Follow Jan on Twitter @u41jdp