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About

Editor-in-Chief,   Anatole Krattiger

Editorial Board

Concept Foundation

PIPRA

Fiocruz, Brazil

bioDevelopments-   Institute

CHAPTER NO. 17.4   Experiences from the European Union: Managing Intellectual Property Under the Sixth Framework Programme
Editor's Summary, Implications and Best Practices

Krattiger A, RT Mahoney, L Nelsen, JA Thomson, AB Bennett, K Satyanarayana, GD Graff, C Fernandez and SP Kowalski. 2007. Editor’s Summary, Implications and Best Practices (Chapter 17.4). From the online version of Intellectual Property Management in Health and Agricultural Innovation: A Handbook of Best Practices. MIHR: Oxford, U.K., and PIPRA: Davis, U.S.A. Available online at www.ipHandbook.org.

© 2007. A Krattiger et al. Sharing the Art of IP Management: Photocopying and distribution through the Internet for noncommercial purposes is permitted and encouraged.

Editor's Summary

The countries of the European Union (EU) face many of the same environmental challenges as other countries of the world—plagues, ecological accidents and attacks and natural disasters. This illustrates the problems E.U. member states encounter and the need to take a coordinated approach to managing natural resources and planning their use and exploitation. EU countries have their own policies and initiatives for the optimal and responsible use of their natural resources. Many technological efforts focus on rural areas and businesses that could develop EU agriculture, fisheries and food industries. Using new technologies in rural areas is one of the most common ways to help farmers and small enterprises compete with large corporations.

Community actions benefit both the EU and partner countries. Within this context, health and agriculture are at the very core of the EU’s policies for socio-economic development. With a specific focus on international cooperation, the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development are the EU’s main financial instrument to promote and strengthen research and technological cooperation at the European level. Through these Framework Programmes, actors from different countries and sectors (industry, research centres, SMEs, universities, etc.) work together to improve science and create a better standard of living.

Created by the treaty that established the EU Community, the Framework Programmes are a financial tool to support research and innovation. The multiannual Programmes commenced in 1984. Currently, the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) is under implementation. FP6 started in 2002 and will end at the end of 2006. While the general objective of the FPs is to boost research and innovation in the EU, FP6 aims particularly in contributing to the creation of the European Research Area, which would be a single market for R&D. FP6 seeks to play a significant role in achieving the ambitious challenge of Lisbon 2000: for the European economy to become, by 2010, the world’s most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy.

The main pillar of FP6 (current Framework Programme) is scientific and technological cooperation at the transnational level, and one of the features that make these Programmes attractive to any research initiative is that they are open to participation by entities from third countries (nations that that do not belong and are not affiliated with the EU): a total of EUR 658 million has been budgeted for such participation.

Dealing with IP rights-related issues is essential for any research project, and this is even more apt for a trans-national project than for a project with a narrower focus. The diverse nature of the participating entities (enterprises, public/private research centres, universities, and so on) and their origin (different countries with different laws and cultures) are responsible for the richness of these projects but can be also an obstacle if consortia and resources are not managed adequately and coherently.

FP6 funds research and related activities, and this chapter provides detailed suggestions for applying to these Programmes. Most importantly, these Programmes can only be fully utilized when participants understand and appropriately use the IP rules that govern them. Accordingly, the EU Framework Programmes provide participants with a set of rules and guidelines that are very detailed in comparison with other funding programmes. Defining basic terms, the logic behind the assignment of IP ownership, personnel rights, information sharing responsibilities, and explaining how to transfer and protect intellectual property, the chapter also offers a thorough consideration of licensing issues, which are discussed via concrete examples. A list of Internet links is provided for more information about the different issues involved. The EU’s FP6 goals—and those of the impending FP7—can only be met if the parties involved are aware of these rules and work their best to implement them. Indeed, success very much depends on the participants’ commitment and effort.

Key Implications and Best Practices

Given that IP management is heavily context specific, these Key Implications and Best Practices are intended as starting points to be adapted to specific needs and circumstances.

For Government Policy-makers

  • The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) is a model of how to proceed with an integrated program in socio-economic develpment. Its comprehensive approach, integrating simultaneous development of of IP and R&D capabilites, and stressing national, regional and international cooperation and partnerships, is designed to build sustainable systems.
  • Any country/region may follow the example of the European Union (EU) and implement similar Programs that are adapted to its specific needs (this has already been done in Latin America, for instance, with CYTED—Programa Iberoamericano de Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo.)
  • In terms of national IP policy development, traditional knowledge, folklore and biodiversity should be prioritized. Due attention should also be paid to the legal issues involved in bioprospecting.
  • Developing cooperation schemes with regional countries having similar or reciprocal needs is mutually beneficial, resource efficient and self-sustaining long-term strategy.

For Senior Management (university president, R&D manager, etc)

  • Collaborations of this type foster networking and exchange of knowledge. All these actions favor networking, the exchange of experiences and expertise, which may considerably enhance all sides of the collaboration.
  • As a general institutional policy, temporary stationing of personnel, either to or from institutions in other countries, would be a good way to learn best practices for IP management. Cooperation in this field ought to be encouraged, fostered and increased.

For Scientists

  • Any scientist interested in collaborating with a third institution needs to know the IP policy and protocols to be implemented in the research work.
  • The ownership, protection, and possible access to or use of the results by the scientist or his/her institution are issues that should be clarified in advance.

For Technology Transfer Officers

  • Consider implementing collaborations (licensing, adequate MTAs, etc.) with both academia and industry from other countries with similar or reciprocal needs.
  • Explore the options available in your country to boost the exploitation of the results generated (either through licensing agreements or other means.)
  • Participation in regional technological development networks is an efficient way to address critical shared needs. However, such programs require investments in network, R&D infrastructure, and IP capacity.
  • Within the context of regional development networks, the technology transfer office will likely have a critical role in coordinating R&D partnerships and managing IP assets.

Krattiger A, RT Mahoney, L Nelsen, JA Thomson, AB Bennett, K Satyanarayana, GD Graff, C Fernandez and SP Kowalski. 2007. Editor’s Summary, Implications and Best Practices (Chapter 17.4). From the online version of Intellectual Property Management in Health and Agricultural Innovation: A Handbook of Best Practices. MIHR: Oxford, U.K., and PIPRA: Davis, U.S.A. Available online at www.ipHandbook.org.

© 2007. A Krattiger et al. Sharing the Art of IP Management: Photocopying and distribution through the Internet for noncommercial purposes is permitted and encouraged.