27 / 06 / 2023

Joint Reaction to the EIC Board Statement on Intellectual Property

On the day of the European Education & Innovation Summit, research and innovation organisations respond to the EIC Board statement on the revision of the EIC intellectual property provisions.

Associations of knowledge transfer professionals, research and technology organisations, and universities today publish a joint reaction to the statement issued on 3 May by the Board of the European Innovation Council (EIC) on the Intellectual Property (IP) rules applicable to EIC Pathfinder and Transition projects.

We welcome the recommendations laid out by the EIC Board to the European Commission particularly on the definition of EIC inventors and for granting the EIC inventors access rights only after a certain time period after the end of the EIC project and only if specific conditions are met. This is a very positive step. However, there are still additional aspects highlighted in our previous statement that need further attention. We strongly encourage the European Commission to take them into account.

Our associations are committed to collaborating with the EIC Board and the European Commission to support translating the recommendations provided in our reaction into the future EIC work programme and Horizon Europe Model Grant Agreement.

Our recent positive discussions with the EIC Board have shown that we share the same concern to accelerate disruptive innovation in Europe within the framework of the EIC. EARTO therefore welcomes and supports EIC Board’s recommendations to clarify the definition of EIC inventors. More precisely, we very much appreciate that the EIC Board recommends that the beneficiaries receive a fair return (e.g. royalties, equity stakes) on their IP and that possible granting of IP Rights to the EIC inventors might only occur after a certain time period following the end of the EIC project, in limited and clearly defined cases. However, even in the limited and defined cases where the beneficiary might grant access rights to its IP to the EIC Inventor, EARTO would like to point out that the amendments to the EIC Work Programme should be compliant with the beneficiaries’ human resources management processes, with the institutional, regional and national rules and procedures on IP management and with competition law, while ensuring that it would not raise any risks of conflict of interest,” said Michel Neu, Chair of EARTO WG Legal Experts and Head of Intellectual Property and Valorisation at CEA.

We applaud the EIC’s ambition to strengthen the practice of starting new companies based on publicly funded science. The EC is wise to consider strengthening technology transfer practice across member states. However, the EIC inventor IPR rights must be exercised on the basis of national, regional and institutional regulations. We urge the European Commission to amend the rules and to translate the recommendations made by the many consortia of knowledge institutes active in technology transfer to the EIC board in the upcoming work programmes,” said Jérôme Van Biervliet, Member of the EU-LIFE Policy Task Force and Managing Director at VIB.

I welcome the response of the EIC Board to our concerns, and I have no doubt that the new EIC President, Michiel Scheffer, will continue the spirit of collaboration begun by Mark Ferguson. It is critical that this spirit of collaboration will be fully expressed in the work programme of the EIC. To maximise our capacities for research-led innovation, the work programme must foster the partnership between researchers, technology transfer offices and the EIC, so that each may contribute according to their distinct strengths,” said Jan Palmowski, Secretary-General of The Guild.

Read the full Joint Reaction and see the list of signatories