In the European Union, questions regarding the laws on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
in European Union member countries can be referred to the IPR Help Desk. The IPR Help Desk
operates under a mandate from the European Commission. It aims to function as the first
line of support for EU-RTD contractors who have and may eventually secure business dealing
somehow with Intellectual Property Rights.
The IPR Help Desk does not charge people when they make IPR inquiries. It is a service
which has the backing of a partnership consortium based in Spain, Germany and Poland.
The other functions of the IPR Help Desk are: make the general public aware of the vital
need to safeguard IPR assets within European jurisdiction; allow the use of those critical
IPR assets when needed (particularly if the IRP-related projects are based on research and
development of the FP6 category, has funding from the European Union, and/or are covered by
the European Commission European Research Area Initiatives); support European research
groups or individual researchers when they pursue Intellectual Property projects; entertain
candidates for future research programs that may eventually receive funding from the
European Union; and generally grant the necessary knowledge about registration, protection
and proper usage of Intellectual Property Rights to the affected European researchers.
The IPR Help Desk maintains a site at www.ipr-helpdesk.org that people using different
languages can readily access. The IPR Help Desk can also be reached through its email
address at [email protected] as well.
However, the IRP Help Desk does have its limitations – it cannot supply inquiries about
legally-binding stipulations in IPR. It only aims to heighten awareness about the need to
know how, why and when IPR affects researchers in the European Union.