Acting wisely in collaborative research projects

This new case study tells the story of a cooperation between the Department of General Biophysics at the University of Łódź, Poland and the GRAVITA Fertility Clinic. The case study explains how the two partners developed a collaborative research project with the help of the Enterprise Europe Network and how they managed both their IPRs and IP strategy.

WIPO: Trade secrets - the hidden IP right

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has recently published an article regarding trade secrets, which provides a quick overview of this "hidden right". Learn how trade secrets are regulated in the EU and in the US; how they can be used to protect inventions in comparison to patents, and how they can prove particularly beneficial for SMEs.

Check this interesting article and for further information on trade secrets, consult the European IPR Helpdesk fact sheet "Trade secrets: an efficient tool for competitiveness".

New patent study confirms growth in Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies

The EPO, in co-operation with Handelsblatt Research Institute, has conducted its first study on "Patents and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)".

The study examines this profound technology trend, which is primarily driven by the emergence of the Internet of Things and that is now being observed across a whole range of technical fields. The study also informs users of the European patent system and the broader public about on-going technology trends across various technical fields.

Find more information on EPO's website here.

A new study concerning the Unitary Patent published by the EPO

A study published on 14 November 2017 by the EPO finds that the Unitary Patent could significantly enhance technology transfer in the EU through more trade and foreign direct investment (FDI). The study "Patents, Trade and FDI in the European Union" was carried out by a team of economists from the EPO, the University of Colorado Boulder and the London School of Economics and focuses on high-tech manufacturing industries, including ICT, chemicals and medical devices, which make intensive use of intellectual property rights. It shows that, while patents already have a positive effect on trade and FDI in Europe, their impact is currently hindered by the lack of truly barrier-free EU-wide patent protection.

The study provides evidence of the benefits of patent protection for the European economy. According to the EPO President Benoît Battistelli, "The Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, which are expected to be implemented soon, will be a vital step towards the realisation of an EU single market for technology, and will support productivity growth and economic development in Europe." The Unitary Patent will address several shortcomings of the current patent regime, and is thus expected to facilitate technology transfer through trade and FDI within the EU, especially in countries that are currently less attractive for patent owners. By cutting the overall costs by 70%, the Unitary Patent will facilitate the access to the European market of innovation and technology for SMEs, universities and research centres in particular.

Access the study by clicking here.

The European IPR Helpdesk is looking for case studies: tell us about your IP success story

Would you like your IP success story to be known by thousands of people around Europe?

What about becoming a source of inspiration to SMEs, institutions and researchers?


Then, tell your story as one of the European IPR Helpdesk's case studies and we will spread your success all around Europe!

Case studies are part of the range of publications developed by the European IPR Helpdesk in order to increase awareness of IP. Case studies contain concrete examples on how SMEs, institutions or academics use IP to achieve business success.

The European IPR Helpdesk disseminates case studies free of charge to an audience of more than 13,000 people through its website and through its newsletters, with around 8,000 subscribers.

Check our library if you would like to find out more about our case studies and contact the European IPR Helpdesk's IP advisors, Alejandra Aluja ( and Paula Barnola (, if you would like your case study published by the European IPR Helpdesk.

We are looking forward to hearing about your success story!

EPO study: Patents, trade and foreign direct investment in the European Union

The European Patent Office (EPO) has published a study which assesses the impact of the European patent system on the circulation of technologies through trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) in the European Single Market. Industries with above-average use of intellectual property (IP), especially patents, are already known to make a greater contribution to GDP and external trade. This study shows that further improvement is however possible. Under the current patent system, which is fragmented post-grant, limitations are found to hinder cross-border trade and investment in IP- and technology-intensive industries. The Unitary Patent will remove many of these limitations, and it is thus expected to facilitate technology transfer through trade and FDI within the EU, thereby supporting productivity growth and economic development.

Read more here

Revised Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority

The Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority have been amended.

These Guidelines give instructions on the practice and procedure to be followed in various aspects of the handling of international applications before the EPO as International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority.

In the November 2017 edition, amendments have been made in all parts. The major change is the expansion of Part A, which now includes a comprehensive chapter on fees.

Learn more about the only valid official version of these Guidelines on EPO's website, here.