Guide to R&D in China for European SMEs

The China IPR SME Helpdesk has recently released a new guide for small businesses wishing to carry out R&D activities in China.

Many European SMEs engage in activities which fall under at least one of the terms: research or development. When engaging in R&D in China, new intellectual property is being created, the rights to which need to be clearly defined from the outset to avoid disagreements later on. This expert-written guide provides practical information, highlighting some important issues to consider when researching and developing in China, and describing some strategies and techniques that could be useful.

The guide can be freely downloadable here.

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IP specificities in research for the benefit of SMEs

This specific funding scheme has been set up by the European Commission within the Capacities programme under the FP7. The purpose of this support is to help SMEs outsource research and extend their international network. It also aims at increasing their research efforts and better exploiting research results. Accordingly, the Intellectual Property regime slightly differs from the common FP7 rules on IP.

The main purpose of the present fact sheet is thus to highlight the IP rules specific to these actions.

IP issues in brokerage events

We are pleased to inform you that the European IPR Helpdesk has issued a fact sheet with the intention of providing an overview of the main IP issues that should be considered when participating in a brokerage event.

These events are an easy, cheap and quick way for companies’ representatives to develop business partnerships and mainly to commercially exploit their intellectual property assets. Yet, such events may present some risks connected to IP, that all participants should be aware of. The document aims at bringing forward some of the fundamental aspects which any company should take into consideration, to avoid possible drawbacks so as to successfully participate in brokerage events.

New guide for SMEs on the management of Intellectual Property in FP7

We are pleased to inform you that the European IPR Helpdesk has produced a new guide intended to give SMEs a practical overview on how Intellectual Property (IP) should be dealt with in FP7 programmes.

The aim of this guide is therefore to break down the major IP issues any SME-participant has to tackle in order to be successful in its project proposal and to make the most of its project results. This is a rather schematic and reader-friendly document that gives you a first sight of the fundamental IP matters to consider during the entire life-cycle of EU funded projects.

Nevertheless, it is recommended to integrate it with the three fact sheets that the IPR helpdesk has recently produced on the management of IP in FP7 projects, which are more thorough and go deeper into each of the FP7 project phases.

Public consultation: Small Business, Big World - A new partnership to help SMEs seize global opportunities

DG Enterprise and Industry opened a public consultation aimed at seeking all stakeholders’ comments and ideas on a more coherent approach to public support for European SMEs wishing to go abroad.

According to the consultation document, even though several studies demonstrate that internationalisation is essential to improve SMEs' competitiveness, these companies still face many challenges when doing business outside the EU, namely in terms of IPR protection and management. Thus, significant resources are currently devoted to provide the support that SMEs need. The European Commission believes, however, that the real impact of those funds “could be increased by achieving more visibility of the actions and more clarity for SMEs as well as by bringing about a more effective cooperation between the parties involved in SME support.”

This consultation is opened until July 12th and you are welcome to send your ideas by eMail to

Feasibility study on new forms of EU support to Member States and Regions to foster SMEs innovation capacity

A survey on the challenges to raise the innovation capacity of European SMEs is being organised, upon the request of Unit D2 Support for industrial innovation of DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission. This analysis is part of a broader feasibility study on new forms of EU support to Member States and Regions, to foster SMEs' innovation capacity.

With the aim to identify the main barriers to innovation that SMEs face and possible forms of support to address such barriers, this survey is available online until the end of this month. The lack of skills to manage IP is one of the possible barriers considered in the survey form. Participating in this survey takes only 30 minutes and you only need to follow the link above, which will take you directly to the questionnaire.

The European Patent Academy organises workshops focused on SMEs and start-ups

The European Patent Academy, the EPO’s body responsible for its external education and training activities, announced four new workshops that will be held during the upcoming months in Vienna, Berlin, Munich and the Hague.These two-day workshops are aimed at providing participants with an understanding on how IP impacts SMEs and start-ups. Issues such as patent search, licensing, valuation, finance and enforcement will be covered. In some of the workshops, participants will have the opportunity to put in practice the knowledge acquired during ‘hands-on’ sessions, with the guidance of the EPO experts.