On 28 January 2022, the EU Commission launched a stakeholder community to co-create a Code of Practice for the smart use of Intellectual Property; FICPI has been involved in the Awareness Raising subgroup of the initiative.

The project is a bottom-up initiative adopted by the Commission and the member states in November 2021 within the framework of the Knowledge Valorisation action. It was led by the Research and Innovation Directorate (RTD), encompassing more than 170 individuals, representing a huge diversity across the whole EU R&I ecosystem plus Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Serbia and Turkey.

The initiative seeks to update the previous work published in 2008, with the Recommendation on the management of intellectual property in knowledge transfer activities and the Code of Practice for universities and other public research organisations.

The work was divided into 9 different subgroups, each of them covering a wide span of IP related perspectives: 

  1. Assets Management
  2. New Technologies
  3. Open Innovation
  4. Open Science
  5. Awareness Raising
  6. International Cooperation and Projects 
  7. Skills and Training
  8. Valuation
  9. Joint Industry – Academia IP

FICPI was assigned to the Awareness Raising subgroup targeted at universities, technology transfer offices (both public and private) and SMEs

The main working lines agreed upon for the subgroup were the following:

  • A) Promote educational and communication styles & methods for IP training
  • B) Promote early stage and targeted IP awareness trainings
  • C) In IP trainings: emphasise added value of increasing IP awareness & of having an IP strategy
  • D) Create a network of IP awareness promoters & trainers.

Overall, our main aim was to put at the core of the discussion that IP is not merely a form of ownership protection but rather a collection of tools to support a much better exploitation of the competitive advantage and business possibilities of any organisation. Thus, the concept of “smart use” expands the potential of IP much farther from merely the registration perspective that is often projected.

Repository of Good IP Practices

Interestingly, some relevant research organisations, universities or entities had already developed their own set of practices, so one of the first steps within the project was to set up a repository of the pre-existing Good IP Practices and make them available to all stakeholders. So far there are more than 50 such IP practices listed, and growing, with large thematically open practices.

Furthermore, the centralisation of these practical tools will facilitate future benchmarking efforts for those stakeholders not yet experienced enough in this area. This resource is intended to remain open indefinitely and subject to revision with the addition of any new reference that may come up. 

Integral approach throughout the entire IP value chain

The EU Commission is very conscious that without an integral approach throughout the entire IP value chain, the chances of consistently capturing all the potential benefits from the Research & Innovation efforts could be, to a great extent, diminished. An aligned strategy of support and basic resources will lead to improved efficiency on how the Research & Innovation ecosystem tackles the fundamentals of IP.

It is also expected that all the views and recommendations drawn up will be escalated to the European Research Area: the broader project to create a single, borderless market for research, innovation and technology across the EU.

In this context, the role of IP attorneys has been also presented to all the other stakeholders as key in defining and implementing these practices. The IP-attorney qualified advice is essential in the equation to fix the fundamentals on what IP, and how, is best protected and therefore to achieve the smart use that defines the initiative.

FICPI’s view and involvement 

FICPI’s participation represented an excellent opportunity of engagement in peer-learning and cross border exchanges, beyond the usual limits of the client-practitioner perspective.  The repository is a very helpful add-on to watch since it may be a good reflection of the state of the art of these policies across Europe.

Independent IP attorneys help organisations protect and build value in their IP assets, and bring insights and counsel from a wider external perspective and a commitment to high quality work. FICPI brings IP attorneys from around the world together to connect, share knowledge and grow. 

Next steps

  • Make the most of your participation in the FICPI World Congress 2022, to be held in Cannes from 25-29 September, connect, share and grow with fellow delegates ahead of the sessions using the FICPI space on the Eventmobi app. https://ficpi.org/ficpi-world-congress-2022
  • Consider becoming involved with FICPI's Study & Work Committees (known as CET), with groups ranging from designs to international patents, and biotechnology & pharmaceuticals.
  • This article's author, Joan Salvá, is an active member of FICPI's CET 7 group on IP Enforcement and Alternate Dispute Resolution. 




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