13/03/2018

DANIEL KRAUS

Professor of Innovation Law

Director, Center for Intellectual Property and Innovation

Born in 1967

Live in Bern

Brief Background

Daniel Kraus was born and grew up in Versoix, in the canton of Geneva. After obtaining a secondary-school leaving certificate with a specialisation in music, he dreamed of becoming an architect. He actually went on to study law in Geneva on the advice of... an architect no less. He moved to London in 1992 to study for a postgraduate degree in European Law with a view to taking the diplomatic service entrance exam. On the 6th December that year Switzerland rejected membership of the European Economic Area, calling into question his decision to pursue a diplomatic career. It was during his law internship that he finally found his true passion – intellectual property – the perfect combination of artistic creativity and the law. During his doctorate in intellectual property law he worked in Bern on international affairs for the Federal Institute of International Property, in close collaboration with Vietnam. From 2004, he worked at the University of Neuchâtel (UniNE) on legal issues related to biotechnology, before being appointed the law faculty’s Professor of Innovation Law in 2010. A highly proactive man, he went on to open his intellectual property law practice in 2014, and has served as a substitute judge for the Federal Patent Court since 2012. That same year he founded the Intellectual Property and Innovation department at the UniNe, with Nathalie Tissot, Vincent Salvadé and Olivier Hari. They were later joined by tax specialist Thierry Obrist. With tireless energy, he successfully persuaded the faculty heads to create the Interfaculty Masters in Innovation, which he has run with his colleague and friend Hugues Jeannerat since 2017.

How has Microcity contributed to your work ?

Microcity was established in 2014 and was initially a trademark, a “branding” exercise for the region. It has recently gained a high degree of visibility, partly through the website microcity.ch and its activity on social media. This visibility has clearly delivered benefits for its members. For example, Microcity has promoted the social sciences and humanities (sociology, economics and law) innovation approach developed at the UniNE. It also acts as an official label for the relationships developed between the different innovation stakeholders in the canton of Neuchâtel.

What research that could benefit the other members of Microcity is currently being undertaken as part of the Masters in Innovation ?

The Masters in Innovation is unique because it deals with innovation from the interdisciplinary perspective of the humanities, in particular sociology, economics and law. In a canton with an extremely high concentration of industrial and academic technological innovation, this Masters is designed to put the human being back at the heart of such innovation. We are now realising the extent to which innovation is having an impact on society, democracy and on the economy. We need to find legal responses to these developments. Research carried out as part of the Masters has focused, in particular, on industry 4.0, blockchains, and the issue of counterfeit medicines. Colleagues are also working on the impact that innovation has on working life and social security.

In your view, how important is the Microcity innovation hub for the canton of Neuchâtel ?

Microcity has an essential role to play for the canton of Neuchâtel, which has a lot to offer. The canton has highly developed skills, particularly in the field of microtechnology. This must be communicated at a national and international level. The people of Neuchâtel are excellent, but their capacity for self-promotion is not. Microcity can change this ! And this change is already having an impact within the Microcity innovation hub.

Written by Victoria Barras

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