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The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) is one of the main EU funding instruments to support research and innovation. It aims, in general, to achieve the following objectives:

  • foster the competitiveness of enterprises, in particular of SMEs;
  • promote all forms of innovation including eco-innovation;
  • accelerate the development of a sustainable, competitive, innovative and inclusive information society;
  • promote energy efficiency and new and renewable energy sources in all sectors, including transport.
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The CIP is divided into three operational programmes. Each programme has its specific objectives, aimed at contributing to the competitiveness of enterprises and their innovative capacity in their own areas, such as ICT or sustainable energy:

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The EIP, one of the specific programmes under the CIP, seeks to support enterprises, in particular SMEs, entrepreneurship, innovation including eco-innovation and industrial competitiveness.

This programme aims to achieve the following objectives:

(a) improve access to finance for the start-up and growth of SMEs and investment in innovation activities;

(b) the creation of an environment favourable to SME cooperation, particularly in the field of cross-border cooperation;

(c) all forms of innovation in enterprises;

(d) eco-innovation;

(e) entrepreneurship and innovation culture;

(f) enterprise and innovation-related economic and administrative reform.

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The Information and Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP) aims at stimulating a wider uptake of innovative ICT based services and the exploitation of digital content across Europe by citizens, governments and businesses, in particular SMEs.

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The programme addresses obstacles hindering further and better use of ICT based products and services and barriers for the development of high growth businesses, notably SMEs, in this field. In addition to illustrating and validating the high value of digital technologies for the economy and society, it will foster the development of EU-wide markets for innovations enabling every company in Europe to benefit from the largest internal market in the world.

Funding goes mainly to pilot actions in areas such as:

  • ICT for health, ageing and inclusion
  • Digital Libraries
  • ICT for improved public services
  • ICT for energy efficiency and smart mobility
  • Multilingual web and Internet evolution
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Yes. The European IPRHelpdesk´s services are conceived to raise awareness of IPR and to provide tailored support on IP issues within research, development and innovation EU funded programmes. The European IPR Helpdesk provides, thus, free of charge expertise and IP related information concerning consortium agreements to the users.

Nevertheless, it does not provide legally binding advice. Users should contact competent authorities, organisations, private consultancies or experts in case any additional advice is needed.

For further information, please visit our services homepage.

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The Grant Agreement establishes the main rights and obligations of participants towards the European Commission and is, generally, based on models prepared to be applied in all projects. This agreement lacks, therefore, detailed provisions on the specific project and consortium.

Thus, it is highly recommended (if not mandatory) that participants sign between them a Consortium Agreement aimed to establish in detail the rules on the internal management of the consortium, namely in terms of IP matters.

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They are Eco-Innovation pilot and market replication projects for the testing in real conditions of innovative products, processes and services that are not fully marketed due to residual risks and that are aimed at reducing environmental impacts, preventing pollution or achieving a more efficient use of natural resources. Through the Eco-Innovation funding scheme, the EU wants to support innovative products, services and technologies that can better use our natural resources and reduce Europe's ecological footprint. With its objective to bridge the gap between research and the market, CIP Eco-Innovation contributes to the implementation of the Environmental Technologies Action Plan.

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This initiative provides funding for projects in various sectors that mitigate environmental impacts or promote a more efficient use of resources. Priority areas include material recycling, buildings, the food and drink sector as well as greener business. It helps good ideas for innovative products, services and processes that protect the environment to become commercial prospects, ready for use by business and industry. 

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Calls are open to all legal persons that are based in eligible countries but the priority will be given to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Clusters of applicants and projects which demonstrate a European added value and have a high potential for market replication are strongly encouraged.

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Although priority will be given to SMEs and private beneficiaries, the calls for proposals are open to all legal people located in one of the following countries:

  • 27 EU Member States
  • Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein
  • Albania, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Israel, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey
  • Other non-EU countries provided they have an appropriate agreement with EU in force

Potential applicants should carefully check their suitability for this initiative.

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Eco-Innovation as a cross-cutting issue through three subprogrammes: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Information and Communication Technologies, and Intelligent Energy Europe.

It aims to foster the competitiveness of enterprises and promote eco-innovative, market oriented activities which benefit the environment.

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Yes. Under article II.3.2 of the Grant Agreement, beneficiaries grant EACI the right to make free use of the results of the action as it deems fit, provided it does not thereby breach its confidentiality obligations or existing industrial and intellectual property rights.

Thus, beneficiaries should have this obligation in consideration when making arrangements concerning the ownership and use of results.

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There is no general model grant agreement which would be applicable to all projects under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). Depending on the respective CIP-sub-programme (e.g. Eco-Innovation, IEE, ICT-PSP) a specific standard model agreement is foreseen. The appropriate model Grant Agreement can be found in the the documentation for each call.

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Each specific CIP sub-programme (e.g. Eco-Innovation, IEE, ICT-PSP) makes available a specific standard model agreement, which can be downloaded from the pertaining websites:

For other projects, please seek information in the specific call.

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The Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (IEE) helps to deal with the climate change and to achieve energy targets that the EU set for itself. The programme supports concrete projects, initiatives and best practices via annual calls for proposals.

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The IP rules applicable to CIP projects are mainly established in the Grant Agreement applicable to the specific programme (for instance: Eco-Innovation, ICT PSP, etc.).

Potential participants in these projects should, therefore, check the model Grant Agreement, as well as all the documentation provided by EACI in the webpage for specific calls.

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It is very important that potential participants first define which information is going to be used and shared in the project according to its purposes. Registration of IP rights is generally needed to get legal protection and exclusive use of intangible assets. Thus, potential participants should also verify whether the IP assets they identified have been protected as IPR (e.g. patent, industrial design).

Once IP assets are defined and protected, it is essential to consider the appropriate conditions to use and share them within the project, for instance, any economic terms if applicable. In case it is necessary to use any IP belonging to a third party, it is advisable to get adequate authorisations to avoid any future infringement.

Finally, before exchanging information consortium partners should enter in appropriate confidentiality agreements.

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At the proposal stage, participants are likely to exchange valuable and confidential information about their assets with others partners. To avoid losing such information, it is advisable to conclude a confidentiality agreement before disclosing any information. Regarding the transmission of the proposal to the EACI, no special agreement is necessary since the experts who evaluate proposals are bound by a confidentiality obligation.

Moreover, during the project, both the project participants and the EACI are bound by the confidentiality obligations incorporated into the specific grant agreement.

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Generally, the participants are the owners of the results they generate under the project, including any IP rights involved.

Nevertheless, in every case it is recommended to revise the specific rules of each project, particularly the IPR clauses included in the grant agreement.

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In some projects it is necessary to grant access rights to the pre-existing information (results, know how, etc, all these named “background”) and/or to the results generated under the project (“foreground”) when the other consortium partners need them to carry out their own work under the project or to use and exploit their own foreground.

Thus, it is advisable to consult the applicable Grant Agreement in order to check whether in your concrete project it is or not mandatory to grant such rights.

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In accordance with the provisions of the model Grant Agreement (when applicable), valuable results (capable of industrial or commercial application) should be protected. Protection is not mandatory in all cases, though the decision to leave results without protection should preferably be made in consultation with the other project partners, which may wish to overtake ownership. Results should be, furthermore, protected in an adequate and effective manner in conformity with the relevant legal provisions, having due regard to the legitimate interests of all project partners.