Academic institutions need to adapt IPR strategies to fulfil their role in Europe’s innovation ecosystem

ALLEA published the statement ‘The Need for Intellectual Property Rights Strategies at Academic Institutions’ today. The publication formulates recommendations both to scientific organisations and European and national legislators and highlights the importance of managing intangible assets with due consideration of intellectual property rights (IPR).

The increasing relevance of intangible assets, such as computer software or patented technology, in today’s economy requires fundamental rethinking and a cultural change in the management of IP portfolios in scientific organisations just as it does in companies. With its statement, ALLEA addresses this shift of economic relevance from tangible to intangible assets and urges academic institutions to adopt adequate IPR strategies which ensure that knowledge transfer benefits society, for example in public-private partnerships. It also presents options to European and national legislators on ways to incentivise the translation of publicly funded research results into IP-protected innovative products and processes.

The statement has been produced by ALLEA’s Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights, which comprises experts from various disciplines and from academies across Europe.

“Europe risks lagging behind other regions in incentivising knowledge transfer for innovation. Academic institutions and policymakers must prepare better for the pivotal economic shift towards intangible assets and adapt their legal frameworks and academic plans to efficiently respond to these trends”, said Professor Joseph Straus, Chair of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights.

The statement recommends to academic institutions:

  • To adopt a holistic approach as regards to their IP strategies, in order to remain attractive as partners in public-private partnerships (PPP) or for third party funding.
  • To raise awareness of the importance of IPR for innovation on both the micro- and macroeconomic scale and developing models which adequately remunerate employees in case of a successful commercialisation of research findings.
  • To make available financial and human resources in order to secure in-house structures or external mechanisms to deal with invention disclosures, filing and prosecution of IPRs, as well as the monitoring of granted IPRs.
  • To establish clear rules around the ownership in and handling of IPRs in cases of commercial spin-outs.

The statement furthermore advises European and national legislators:

  • To devise legal frameworks similar to those adopted in the US, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.
  • To introduce a grace period into patent law, and to consider preferential tax treatment for income generated through commercialisation of publicly funded research.
  • To better support cooperation between academic institutions in the commercialisation of their research results and to optimise cooperation of existing Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs).

Europe risks lagging behind other regions in incentivising knowledge transfer for innovation. Academic institutions and policymakers must prepare better for the pivotal economic shift towards intangible assets and adapt their legal frameworks and academic plans to efficiently respond to these trends

Download the full statement here

 

 

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