Complex negotiations, but with a happy end

Helpline / Success Story

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The ECOBIONET project is a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) Eco-Innovation project funded by the second call launched in 2009 and which lasted from September 2010 to August 2013. The consortium was composed of two SMEs from Spain, one German SME, a research organisation from Belgium and the Coordinator AIMPLAS, a research organisation from Spain. This project was built on the results of a previous European research and development project, funded under the Capacities programme of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). In particular, the partners in ECOBIONET implemented and adapted some of the compounds for net packaging and commercial use, which had been previously developed in the FP6 project by AIMPLAS.

As the most experienced partner in EU funded projects at the time, AIMPLAS took the role of Coordinator. Indeed, for AIMPLAS ECOBIONET was the third Eco-Innovation project, while the other consortium partners were embarking for the first time on such a project.

Nevertheless, AIMPLAS’ major experience by then was based on projects within the previous Framework Programmes. For this reason, in the preparation of the draft for the Consortium Agreement for ECOBIONET, AIMPLAS used the template it usually uses in the collaborative projects funded by the Framework Programmes with a few adaptations. 

That, however, proved to be a big mistake. It was at the middle of the project that the partners realised that the Consortium Agreement did not address well the particularities of their project and had some inconsistencies. This situation led to different interpretations among the consortium partners of their obligations, which ultimately could put the completion of the project at risk. The Coordinator therefore approached the European IPR Helpdesk for advice and guidance, after some months without reaching a solution.

The European IPR Helpdesk provided their views and supporting information, through emails, conference calls with the consortium or direct phone calls to the partners directly involved in this difficult and complex situation. The consultants of the European IPR Helpdesk made an effort to familiarise themselves with the problem, to answer the questions, and particularly to try to find a win-win solution for all the involved partners.

The partners were eventually able to find a common agreement and reach the end of the project without further problems. “Based on the experience with the intellectual property-related discussions within the framework of this Eco-Innovation project, there is no doubt that the consortium thanks the European IPR Helpdesk for its support. Their advice and information provided will be used for future projects to avoid similar situations”.