University technology licensing and State Aid

Last week, Mark gave one of his talks on technology licensing – an all-day “masterclass” for university TT managers.  It was run by ASTP and held in Amsterdam (at the airport, in fact).  Attendees came from Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and probably other countries.

During the session on EU competition law, several attendees were more interested in discussing the effect of State Aid rules on licensing by universities.  This was slightly unfortunate, as Mark didn’t have any slides on this important subject.  Perhaps surprisingly, this subject has not been raised by previous attendees, but is now clearly a hot topic.

These rules may prohibit, for example, the acquisition of State assets (eg IP) at less than market value. Most universities are public bodies and therefore are subject to the State Aid rules.  However, there are certain exceptions to the rules, including exceptions for core activities of the university.  Some interesting slides on this subject, written by a representative of UK Government’s State Aid team and presented at an AURIL conference, can be found here.  We will write something on this subject in the coming weeks (and update Mark’s slides!)


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