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21 October 2020

EC gets inventive with Orbis tracking

Santhosh Metri

EC gets inventive with Orbis tracking

Patent activity is critical to the EC as an indicator of the success of funding grants. Comprehensive, accurate patent data allows the EC to gauge relative innovation and the market value of any inventions resulting from funding programmes (FPs). It can then use this analysis to highlight underperforming sectors or organizations receiving grants and, critically, confirm that it is funding up-to-date research.

Yet the EC itself admits that its patent data is patchy and diffuse, hindering any comprehensive analysis. Countering this challenge, the EC has released a Monitoring Flash (MF) that uses Orbis Intellectual Property to collate and streamline global patent activity. Orbis’ patent data is far-reaching and granular, containing information on industry classification, ownership and size of organization, facilitating international comparison.

A recent evaluation of EC funding programme Horizon 2020 shows that FP research yields quality, valuable patents. Orbis Intellectual Property was used to reveal that patents resulting from FPs are more likely to be interdisciplinary, largely exploited in Europe and the US, and mainly relate to the health sector. Many have a higher than average market value. These findings give the EC a more accurate understanding of which types of funding are the most successful, allowing it to design better funding policies and awards.

Crucially, the report confirms a significant time-lag between grants being awarded and patent registration, noting that between 2009 and 2018 almost all inventions produced (97%) stemmed from the now inactive FP7, which ended in 2014. Subsequently, a significant number of patent registrations in 2018 reflected older policy priorities than those set out in the ongoing Horizon 2020 programme of funding.

Looking forward

In response to this, the MF report explicitly emphasises the need for greater tracking of FP-funded patent activity against current EU policy objectives. With Horizon 2020 focusing heavily on climate change issues, more targeted interventions are needed to minimise the time-lag. With access to Orbis Intellectual Property, the EC now has greater capacity not only to monitor ongoing FP-funded activity, but to intervene when necessary. As global priorities shift and climate neutrality becomes central to policy aims, the EC will continue to use Orbis to track the effectiveness of its funding frameworks.

Read the full EC report.

Find out how Orbis Intellectual Property can help you monitor and manage patent data.

Santhosh Metri

Santhosh Metri, Bureau van Dijk Director of Product Strategy - Intellectual Property and M&A Solutions

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