Knowledge dissemination: a core mission

It’s been a year since the CERN Council approved our policy on intellectual property management, so I’d like to take a look at what we’ve achieved since then. In short, a great deal. We’ve moved away from a fairly unregulated approach towards a well balanced and clearly defined system built around sound intellectual property management designed to deliver maximum dissemination and benefit for society from CERN innovation. It’s a move that I celebrate and fully support.


In 2009, CERN signed two partnership agreements to develop CERN technologies, two commercial licenses and eleven R&D licenses. Last year, the figures were six partnership agreements, five commercial licenses and twenty R&D licenses, indicating a real increase in dissemination efforts. From 2009 to 2010, however, the number of new technologies that were identified and disclosed hardly changed: nine in 2009, ten in 2010.

These numbers are good, but we must improve, particularly in terms of disclosures. It’s part of our core mission, enshrined in the CERN Convention, to make the results of our work as widely known and used as possible, and that doesn’t just apply to physics results, it applies to all knowledge generated here. Our intellectual property policy reflects this, clearly putting the emphasis on sharing what we know.

I have frequently pointed out the virtuous circle linking basic and applied research: the needs of basic research drive innovation, which in turn provides new tools for basic research to advance. Every one of us has a potential place in that circle, since at the end of the day innovation stems from invention, and inventions are made by people.

Our policy recognises this by rewarding inventiveness and encouraging people to engage with knowledge and technology transfer. One year from now, I’d like to be able to report even more success in our intellectual property management, and I’m relying on you to help me.


Rolf Heuer