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On April 10, the European Commission adopted a specific, non-binding Recommendation on knowledge transfer and intellectual property. The Recommendation is a follow-up of the spring 2007 Commission Communication on improving knowledge transfer between research institutions and industry. The Communication notes that in comparison with North America, European universities file fewer patents, negotiate fewer licensing deals and produce less inventions. The cause of this is, according to the Commission, the more professional management of knowledge in North American research institutions.
The Communication states that European universities do not necessarily lag behind in innovation, but in adapting the research results. The new Recommendation is hoped to make the EU national systems more coherent and thus boost co-operation between institutions and industries, leading to more profitable business outcome. The Recommendation offers a set of policy principles which Member States are asked to follow when introducing or adapting national guidelines or other measures regarding knowledge transfer. Annexed to the Recommendation is a Code of Practise, giving universities operational principles on how they should develop or review their institutional policies.
The Member States should inform the Commission of the measures implemented on the basis of the Recommendation by mid-2010.