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Joint Statement Paper on the Model Grant Agreement’s Intellectual Property Provisions of the European Innovation Council under Horizon Europe

05 December 2022

Joint Statement on the EIC Model Grant Agreement’s Intellectual Property Provisions

The Coimbra Group and 7 other stakeholders, representing European universities, research performing organisations and knowledge transfer professionals, have published a joint statement urging the European Commission to apply the standard Intellectual Property (IP) provisions for Transition and Pathfinder projects of the European Innovation Council (EIC). The signatories warn that the current EIC IP provisions are not only counterproductive and hinder knowledge valorisation, but that they are also unworkable.

The statement also calls for strengthening the capacities of knowledge valorisation services, as promoted in the European Commission’s Proposal for a Council Recommendation on the guiding principles for knowledge valorisation, the Council conclusions on the New European Innovation Agenda, and the European Parliament’s report on the implementation of the EIC.

More specifically, the signatories highlight the following issues:

  1. The assumption that the so-called EIC inventors are always the best placed to commercially exploit their research outcomes is plainly wrong.
  2. The EIC inventors’ royalty-free access right overlooks and undermines the crucial role of research performing organisations’ knowledge valorisation services, including Knowledge (or Technology) Transfer Offices.
  3. Fragmenting the rights of exploitation of IP between several actors and the fact that therefore only non-exclusive licenses can be granted to start-ups will drive away investors who generally only invests if start-ups are equipped with exclusive IP rights.
  4. The definition of the EIC inventors5 erroneously conflates “inventorship”, usually used in international patent law and national legislation, for the inventor of a patent, and “authorship”, usually used for the author of a scientific publication.
  5. The new EIC IPR provisions create additional uncertainties that may affect knowledge valorisation.
  6. The EIC IP provisions are problematic for many research-performing organisations as they may conflict with their institutional, regional or national rules on handling IP and sharing royalties.

The statement has already been signed by ASTP, AURORA, COIMBRA GROUP, EARTO, EULIFE, IDEA LEAGUE, LERU and THE GUILD. It is still open for endorsement.

Read the full statement here