EU4Tech PoC provides expert legal help to Serbian projects
Innovation projects emerging from universities and research institutions can face significant barriers to commercialisation unless ownership and exploitation rights are very clear from the start. Even a very promising new product may be turned-down by investors unless they are sure that these legal issues have been resolved. Projects that involve both researchers and an external company can be even more complicated. These issues are sufficiently important that in Serbia the Innovation Fund makes it a requirement that projects resolve and formalise ownership and exploitation rights as one of the first tasks.
A number of projects in the EU4TECH PoC 2020 cohort have needed to address these issues but have found them very challenging without external legal help. Senior Short-term Expert Tijana Kovačević was chosen to provide legal assistance to Serbian teams as she is a Serbian lawyer very experienced in intellectual property issues and Serbian legislation. This support will continue also in 2021 cohort.
Along with one-on-one consulting sessions with each project to tackle specific problems they face in IPR management, a set of legal templates was also prepared in both English and Serbian language, in Latin and Cyrillic alphabet, and aligned with current Serbian legislation. Expert legal help was then provided in order for these templates to be successfully customised and adopted by the projects.
Project Smokeless Smokestack from Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences is a good example how EU4Tech PoC legal expert help was used to resolve IPR issues. The project involved researchers from two R&D institutions, both of them IP co-owners. Apart from institutions’ ownership issues, also internal ownership and revenue share between the institution and researchers – employees had to be resolved. The appropriate legal templates were successfully customised and implemented in this project.