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Specific challenge: Managing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is a difficult task, especially for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SME) or individual inventors. Such enterprises or individuals frequently do not have the knowledge or human resources to effectively use and manage IPR. Such entities would be able to better use their intellectual capital if: 1. they had more knowledge, including basics of IPR, and guidance on how to better use professional legal consultants; 2. the professional consultants were better prepared to deal with SME specific challenges 3. cross-border information about IPR issues would be easily available on the internet and 4. National Intellectual Property Offices (NIPOs) would provide better IPR services to SMEs.

Scope: This project is undergoing an evaluation. The future project should build on top of previous initiatives, but is likely to have significantly different activities and potential target groups. In particular, the implementation of the activities of this project should follow closely the recommendations stemming from a document prepared as a follow-up of the evaluation of IPorta project. This document will be published at the latest at the end of November 2014[1].

The applicant needs to provide a mechanism to link and assist NIPOs to design and provide better services to SMEs, including providing information on the business use of European level rights (Unitary Patent, European Trade mark, Community design). To reach the broadest target group the applicants should conceive a mechanism to involve as many National IP offices as possible from the eligible ones (EU Member States and Horizon2020 participating countries) and at least 25 of them. The involvement may consist of including the NIPOs in the consortium as beneficiaries or by allowing the provisions of financial support to NIPOs for joint actions in line with the conditions set out in part K of the General Annexes. Other forms of effective and measureable involvement of NIPOs are possible, e.g, reimbursement of costs of participation of third parties to the joint events, trainings, etc. or service contracts.

The activities should include the communication and trainings on the business use of the European level rights (Unitary Patent, European Trade mark, Community design), the organisation of exchange of experience between National IP Offices on how to help SMEs or individual inventors and how to offer services to this target group. The initial pilot implementation of new services by NIPOs can be included as well as the update of the analysis of current SME needs for IPR support services. The future beneficiary consortium should take care of the joint website

Upgraded or new services and trainings for the target group will be provided by the national IP offices to be implemented either by the NIPOs themselves or by the business support providers. Where needed professional legal attorneys should be trained to tailor their advice and to build IPR strategies matching the needs and resources of SMEs.

As appropriate, the activities should be provided jointly with business support service providers, (e.g. the Enterprise Europe Network, private consultancy) and the different IPR Helpdesks. This measure should also contribute to improve and expand business support service providers’ intellectual asset services in conjunctions with NIPOs.

70% of the provided grant should be spent on joint actions described above directly with the national IP offices using the provisions of financial support or other mechanism that would involve a large number of NIPOs in joint activities. Such joint actions will need to have precisely defined topics, tangible and measureable deliverables at their end, as well as a clear reporting on how they impact on SMEs.

All intellectual property rights to the materials created should be granted free of charge to the Commission and the National IP Offices for further use, re-use and unrestricted modifications. The project leader will co-operate and exchange materials with other Commission services IPR projects: IPR helpdesks and the transatlantic portal.

The project should be operational for a period of 48 months.

Expected impact:

·         At least 25 national IP offices in EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020 participate actively in the learning and capacity building activities of the project either as beneficiaries in consortium or as beneficiaries of a financial support established by the project.

·         Upgrade or create new services and trainings for the target groups according to the needs of SMEs. At least 1 action should be undertaken per year in each country benefitting directly from the action.

·         At least 1,000 SMEs are directly or indirectly trained on the business use of European level rights and 2,500 SMEs (average 100 per participating NIPO) are directly or in-directly benefitting from the upgraded or new services and trainings.

  • Existing IP, like the common website (innovaccess), and new IP generated is effectively managed and is available free of charge to the Commission and the National IP Offices for further use, re-use and unrestricted modifications.

Type of action: Innovation actions


[1]     This document will be published as soon as finalised on the page below and linked to the call text:</p>

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