Thursday 20 August 2009

Want to create a mega-research project? Call ERIC

The text of the Regulation 723/2009 setting out the Community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) was published earlier this month on the website of the Official Journal of the European Union.

Right: in case the European Commission is feeling mischievous, here's someone else's logo for it to use ...

The Regulation, wehich comes into force on 28 August 2009, follows the European Commission's 2008 proposal which explained that the need for a new type of entity arose as existing legal structures are inadequate to deal with the complexity of large-scale research projects involving contributions from several different countries. While the text of the Regulation largely follows that of the proposal, there are some differences.
* the ERIC was originally going to be an ERI (European Research Infrastructure).
* Anyone wishing to set up an ERIC must include a declaration from the host member state that it will recognise the ERIC as an international body in the sense of the directives on VAT and excise duties.
* Member States are no longer required to give ERICs the most extensive exemption from other taxes.

By Article 7(2) of the Regulation,

"An ERIC shall have in each Member State the most extensive legal capacity accorded to legal entities under the law of that Member State. It may, in particular, acquire, own and dispose of movable, immovable and intellectual property, conclude contracts and be a party to legal proceedings".
Article 10(g) requires the statutes governing each individual ERIC to include

"the basic principles covering:
(i) the access policy for users;
(ii) the scientific evaluation policy;
(iii) the dissemination policy;
(iv) the intellectual property rights policy;
(v) the employment policy, including equal opportunities;
(vi) the procurement policy respecting the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and competition;
(vii) a decommissioning, if relevant;
(viii) the data policy".
IP Finance watches with interest. Will ERIC be a dynamic entity for harnessing the continent's research resources and for arrangeing their effective deployment, or will it be a stately European-law-sanitised patent troll?

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