While European research is of an undoubtedly high standard; the capacity to convert scientific breakthroughs into commercial success still pales next to the achievements of the US. The European Commission backs up this worry with figures showing that while one third of all patents issued in Europe are of American origin, only 15% of US-issued patents come from Europe. As well as wasting too much research effort on areas which have already been studied, the commission claims that researchers frequently leave their work open to exploitation by others.
In an effort to reverse this trend the commission has set up the IPR help-desk. The service provides information on intellectual property, encourages the use of technical/patent databases before embarking on a project, and provides useful tools for exploiting and transferring technology. The help desk can be found on the web at www.cordis.lu/ipr-help-desk.