H2020 MoU - Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Horizon 2020 is an agreement that defines the framework of the negotiations among the partners of a consortium and that is generally concluded in the very beginning of the negotiations on the involvement in a project, even before submitting a proposal. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action, helping to explain any protocols for communication, information exchange, reporting, confidentiality issues, and modifications and conditions for terminating the agreement.

Copyright management and Creative Commons in FP7

The Creative Commons initiative is not incompatible with copyright and on the contrary is based on the existence of copyright protection, since it allows the work to be licensed to others interested in using the material.

Take a look at this new case study to see how the use of Creative Commons licences can be beneficial for dissemination of project results, without undermining legal protection.

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Commission proposes rules to help protect against the theft of confidential business information

At the end of last week, the European Commission proposed new rules on the protection of confidential business information against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure. The draft directive introduces a harmonised definition of trade secrets, as well as means through which victims of trade secret misappropriation can obtain redress.

Trade secret misappropriation is indeed a real problem to European businesses. According to a recent survey, one in five companies has suffered at least one attempt to steal its trade secrets in the last ten years. This directive therefore aims to provide businesses with:

  1. an adequate level of protection;
  2. an effective means of redress if their trade secrets are stolen or misused;
  3. a safer environment in which they can create, share and license valuable know-how and technology across the borders of the single market; and
  4. easier engagement in common and collaborative projects for innovation and research.

For further information, please click here. You can read the proposal here.

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Study on trade secrets and confidential business information in the internal market

Following an invitation to tender, the European Commission contracted the law firm Baker & McKenzie to carry out a study on the role of trade secrets and confidential business information as possible drivers for innovation, competitiveness and economic growth in the EU.

This study incorporates a survey covering 537 companies, including 323 small and medium size companies, and also provides a detailed review of the legal frameworks governing trade secrets in the then 27 Member States, the United States of America, Japan and Switzerland.

To read the study in full and have more information, please click here.

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European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin Issue (9)

We are pleased to inform you that the ninth issue of the European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin has been released and is now available on-line.

A central thread of this European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin is related to the efficient management of intellectual property (IP) as a tool for commercial gains. From a brief description of an interesting tool put at the disposal of organisations by the Danish patent and trade marks office (DKPTO), to test the efficiency of their strategy, to two others article on IP commercialisation highlights and using customs for intellectual property enforcement, you will be given suggestions and recommendations on how make the most of your intangible assets.

An article specifically on trade marks will tell you that a good brand incontestably brings an added value to the organisations, but the success of the trade mark requires a solid and well prepared strategy. In addition to that, a case study will put forward the way a University Technology Transfer Division can facilitate the process of connecting industry with research institutes (and vice versa) and to actively support the cooperation as a whole.

The usual quiz, information about the new Ambassador scheme and other events of interests will close our quarterly publication, which we hope will be thought-provoking!

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“Non-Disclosure Agreements” Booklet

The booklet on "Non-Disclosure Agreements", freely provided by the U.K. Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) in the Healthcheck booklet series, gives an overview on approaches to protecting confidential business information to be shared for business purposes.

NDAs are written agreements which record the conditions under which you disclose information or ideas in confidence. You are strongly advised to consider using one if you are going to disclose any information or ideas which you wish to be kept confidential.

If you are interested on how NDAs can help you, read on this booklet here and our fact sheet here. If you want to get better acquainted to the meaning of confidential business information, the European IPR Helpdesk also produced a fact sheet on it, which is downloadable here.

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The importance of an IP management structure in a research project

The need to set up an appropriate management structure to properly deal with the different issues related to intellectual property (IP) is considered to be fundamental in any collaborative research programme.

This case study presents a well-thought IP management structure in an FP7 consortium, which has the function of ensuring a smooth implementation of the project and an optimal exploitation of the resulting intangible assets.

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Survey on Trade Secrets and Confidential Business Information in the Internal Market

Some months ago, the European Commission contracted Baker & McKenzie to carry out a study on trade secrets and confidential business information. In this framework, Baker & McKenzie has launched a survey with the purpose to investigate how EU companies manage these assets.

The data collected “will help the European Commission to better evaluate whether there is a need to provide companies, and in particular SMEs, with better means of redress against the economic harm resulting from dishonest appropriation of confidential business information.

The European IPR Helpdesk encourages all EU companies to participate in this survey! Click here to participate.

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How to manage confidential business information

We are pleased to announce that the European IPR Helpdesk has released a new fact sheet on “How to manage confidential business information” with the aim of pointing out the importance of confidentiality for businesses and give hints on protection management of confidential business information, which could prove beneficial in particular to small and micro entities.

Such information can certainly have a great commercial value and significant importance for the company concerned and its uncontrolled disclosure might potentially lead to serious consequences. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular may not be aware of this risk and thus of the importance of keeping this valuable information “confidential”.

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