Data Economy and Law: “We have no idea!” – Diploma Project at a Technical College in Vienna (Austria)

Data Economy and Law: “We have no idea!” – Diploma Project at a Technical College in Vienna (Austria)

Students from TGM Vienna, a Technical College in Vienna, dedicated their final thesis, which is part of their maturity and diploma examination, of the legal framework for innovations in the field of smart products. They focused on the needs of Start-Ups and SMEs. Their work resulted inter alia into a guideline document for StartUps and SMEs. The students just finished their joint thesis and submitted it for examination. Their Project was supported by the DDM4SME consortium.

Moataz Chabani, Nazli Saglam, David Tufegcic and Jennifer Yi Zhang – all students at the Higher Department for Industrial Eneginieering at the TGM Vienna – wrote their diploma thesis entitled “SMART-SME: Implementation of data-oriented business processes in SMEs” in order to support StartUps and SMEs in identifying typical legal problems when innovating smart products. The thesis is based on an interdisciplinary approach combining legal aspects (Data Protection, Product Safety and Liability as well as Standardization and Product Conformity Assessment (CE-Label)) with management Aspects (integration of legal aspects in the produc innovation process).

In order to evaluate and indentify typical (legal) obstacles faced by StartUps and SMEs during the innovation process the students carried out expert interviews with representatives of companies with data related business models. In the course of these interviews the students were suprised as an expert resigningly concluded: “We have no idea, when it comes to complex legal issues in the field of IP and Data Protection Law“. They learned that it is very hard for SMEs and StartUps to ensure legal compliance troughout the innovation process, esp because they (have to) focus their (typically limited) ressources more on the business development than on legal compliance.

The projekt was quite challenging for the student team as it was their very first project focussing on legal aspects in innovation management. They had a lot of personal learnings, esp in terms of methodology.

The diploma thesis project was supported by the consortium, esp. by Prof. Appl, and provided a valueable contribution for DDM4SME. We wish the student team a successful maturity and diploma exam!