Research Projects and Work in Progress

The Ceipi's Research department is currently working on various projects and studies concerning different branches of intellectual property.

The protection of trade secrets, national and European perspectives

The protection of trade secrets is of great interest to French and European businesses and is closely linked to intellectual property law. Trade secrets can thus constitute an alternative to protection conferred by patent law or by copyright when the strategic choice not to disclose the invention or the creation is made. Moreover, it offers de facto protection to elements not susceptible of fulfilling the conditions imposed by the Intellectual Property Code concerning the recognition of exclusive rights.

Is it appropriate to reinforce the position of trade secret holders by punishing the theft of theses secrets? European companies have been campaigning in favour of such a measure and are calling for a text comparable to the Cohen Act which benefits their American counterparts.

In France the inter-ministerial delegation for competitive intelligence is at present drafting a relevant bill in line with the adoption in 2012 by the National Assembly of the CARAYON draft legislation that already sanctions the theft of trade secrets.

On the European level debate has also been initiated as is evident from the public consultation on protection against the misappropriation of trade secrets recently conducted by the European Commission, and the publication in July 2013 of a far-reaching study on trade secrets and confidential business information in the internal market carried out by the law firm Barker & McKenzie. The outcome is notably that the “new harmonized legislation directed at trade secrets would have a significant impact fostering innovation and economic growth, by removing currently existing obstacles to the smooth functioning of the Internal Market for know-how”. Here one can discern the premises of a tendency towards harmonization that could well, over time, lead to a directive on the subject.

How should protected business secrets be defined? What shape must the criminal offence take? What procedures would confer full effectiveness to this new protection?

These are the questions the research section of the CEIPI has decided to study in collaboration with the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University. The latter will host Professor Jean Lapousterle as of January 2014 for a period of 6 months.

Research project in the area of law-making and international policy of intellectual property enforcement

In 2012, CEIPI has started a large research project in the area of law-making and international policy of intellectual property enforcement. The objective is to identify, critically review and propose amendments to the present international normative acquis for the enforcement of intellectual property rights. To achieve this goal, multilateral and bilateral treaties on intellectual property containing enforcement provisions are contextualized in the wider framework of public international norms. This permits assessing the consistency of new international norms on intellectual property enforcement, and to put into relation said norms with the legal interests protected by other international regimes, such as trade and human rights.

Project leader: Xavier Seuba, Visiting Senior Research Associate at CEIPI. This project will benefit from the funding of the following institutions: Knowledge and Economy Department of the Catalan Government under the COFUND Program of the EU Marie Curie Actions of the Seventh Framework Program.

Publication of a book edited by Christophe Geiger, Director General of the CEIPI: "Constructing European Intellectual Property: Achievements and New Perspectives"

The CEIPI and its Research Department is pleased to inform you about the publication of the first volume in the new European Intellectual Property Institutes Network series (Edward Elgar Publishing), edited by Christophe Geiger, Director General of the CEIPI.

In the European Intellectual Property Institutes Network series (Edward Elgar Publishing), "Constructing European Intellectual Property: Achievements and New Perspectives" offers a comprehensive assessment of the current state of intellectual property legislation in Europe and gives direction on how an improved system might be achieved. Publication date: January 25, 2013.

Click on the poster for more complete description of the book. Click here to by this book online.

Patentability Standards and Patent Quality, A Comparative Approach

CEIPI launches a new research project in the area of patent law, which will address patentability standards and how they relate with the broader issue of patent quality. This project is convened in the context of the 2012 cooperation agreement between the Centre d’Études Internationales sur la Propriété Intellectuelle (CEIPI) and Centro de Estudios Interdisciplinarios de Derecho Industrial y Económico (CEIDIE), of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. In this context, CEIPI professors and researchers will work in collaboration with representatives of the Patent Offices at European and national levels, while CEIDIE members will work with the Argentinean National Institute of Industrial Property and other offices in Latin American countries. The overall goal is to detect and compare trends not only on both sides of the Atlantic but also globally regarding the shared goal of promoting patent quality. Together with Europe and Argentina, countries such as India, Colombia and other emerging countries will also be the focus of a research that will pay particular attention to the area of pharmaceutical products.

The first planning meeting will take place in Strasbourg next April 2013.

At CEIPI, the project will be conducted under the academic direction of Christophe Geiger, Director General and Director of the Research Department of CEIPI, and Xavier Seuba, Senior Associate Researcher at CEIPI.

In this picture, you can see Carlos Correa, Professor and Director of the CEIDIE, University of Buenos Aires and Christophe Geiger, Director General of the CEIPI, at the signature of the agreement between the CEIPI and the CEIDIE on June 6, 2012.

Contact: Xavier Seuba (

CEIPI and the Office of Theoretical and Applied Economics (BETA) launch a collaborative research project in law and economics of Intellectual Property

CEIPI launched an interdisciplinary research project in law and economics of intellectual property together with the Office of Theoretical and Applied Economics (BETA) at University of Strasbourg.  The project, entitled "The strategic role of IP and the necessary (re)construction of intellectual property law in a new economic, technological and social environment" intends to develop research capacities along avenues such as open innovation, strategic use of intellectual property rights and IP enforcement, among others.

The project is carried out under the direction of Christophe Geiger, Director General of CEIPI and Professor Julien Pénin from BETA. In order to implement the research initiative, Agnieszka Kupzok ( has been recruited as a postdoctoral researcher and will serve as a project leader.

To learn more about the project click here.

Project concerning the frontiers of intellectual property law in Europe

The CEIPI's Research Section was chosen amongst French research centres in September 2008 to collaborate on a project concerning the frontiers of intellectual property rights in Europe. It joined numerous universities situated in each of the member states of the European Union to take part in a study bearing on intellectual property rights and freedom of information. Each research group is required to solve practical cases pursuant to its national law. The different solutions are then to be confronted in such a way so as to identify the points of intellectual property law that are still the subject of varying applications in the European Union. The research groups met each other in the framework of the 15th General Meeting « The Common Core of European Private Law » in Turin in June 2009. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the future of the project. Eventually, it will be the subject of a publication at the prestigious Cambridge University Press in the series « Common Core of European Private Law » .

Research project on : « The Comparative Law of Exploitation Contracts of Intellectual Property Rights »

The CEIPI's Research Section in partnership with the Max Plank Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law in Munich is taking part in a research project on « The comparative law of exploitation contracts of intellectual property rights ».

Exploitation contracts of intellectual property rights have an international character. Consequently, it seems appropriate to consider a comparative law study of the subject. The Max Planck Institute in Munich drew up a questionnaire whose aim is to identify the different national practices concerning the law of exploitation contracts of intellectual property rights. This questionnaire concerns all aspects of the law of exploitation contracts and notably their establishment, the consequences of breaching the provisions they include, their termination, and the role of third parties. The second phase of this project will consist in developing European cooperation in the field to attenuate the discrepancies that exist between the national rights and consequently to resolve the difficulties linked to the practical application of these contracts.