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Commission recommends broad strategy for managing IP


Research organisations told to emphasise the compatibility of open science and intellectual property protection

Research and innovation organisations should have broad strategies in place for managing every type of intellectual property asset, the European Commission has recommended.

“Ensur[e] there is a strategy at the organisation level which covers creation, management and utilisation of all types of intellectual assets (including data, knowhow, standards),” the Commission advised in a recommendation it published on 6 March for a code of practice for managing IP in the European Research Area.

Strategies should start early, the Commission said, so that from the moment budget is assigned to an R&I project, there is clarity on what kind of IP is expected to emerge and how it is expected to be used.

Before a project begins, its leaders should identify existing results and other information belonging to each of the partners that is expected to be used, according to the Commission. This should be updated over the project’s lifetime, and at the project’s end there should be a new list created identifying all results generated and their “exploitation path”.

Compatibility with open science

The Commission also recommended that researchers “consider the benefits of practising open science and open innovation…after assessing whether the results should be first protected through IP rights”. It said researchers should thoroughly assess all potential barriers to the sharing of research results, “in particular considering collaboration, transfer and licensing agreements with third parties”.

Organisations should invest in IP training, the Commission said, including to raise awareness of the types of IP and to ensure that researchers understand the compatibility of open science and IP protection.

The recommendations were made in the context of a European Research Area policy priority to upgrade EU guidance on knowledge valorisation—the socioeconomic exploitation of research results.

They are aimed at “all categories of actors involved in R&I, such as intermediaries, individual researchers, innovators and their teams, and organisations including universities, public and private R&I organisations, businesses of all sizes, research and technology infrastructures, public administrations, and civil society representatives”.