publication date: November 29, 2022
Scientific and technical research
Undoubtedly, scientific and technical cooperation is one of the most important issues
in the development process. Research in this area allows for further development , to a greater or lesser extent, of the whole society, even in the field of exact sciences, such as biology, as exemplified by the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
The aforementioned research may be based on the smooth cooperation of many countries, organizations, such as the European Union, which, however, under the Lisbon Treaty , which gives it legal personality, can be treated as a state, i.e. in the same way as Poland or the United States, whose scientific and technical cooperation is based on, among others Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Poland and the Government of the United States of America on scientific and technological cooperation, signed in Washington on April 23, 2018.
This agreement is a kind of natural continuation of the earlier agreement signed in 2006 , which expired under its provisions in 2016. The same mechanism is present in the current agreement, because according to its content, it expires in 10 years. This does not contradict the possibility of termination by either party (USA and Poland) by exchanging notes with a six-month period. It is worth noting that this is an example of the principle of freedom of contracts, which has been repeatedly emphasized in this agreement, as many provisions are based on mutual decisions of the Parties, which is reflected, for example, in implementing agreements on cost sharing and the possibility of resolving any doubts through negotiations and consultations.
An unquestionable facilitation, regulated in the agreement, allowing for conducting scientific activity is the possibility of easier entry, exit, transport of, for example, research data to the territory of one of the Parties. It is worth noting that the Agreement entered into force before the abolition of the relatively formal visa requirement for travel from Poland to the United States, which does not change the fact that the facilitation contained in the Agreement regarding the transport of scientific materials differs from the regulations governing the transport of such materials for persons not related to scientific activity.
The most important provisions of the Cooperation Agreement concern development, on the basis of equality and reciprocity. Additionally, the provisions on Intellectual Property Rights are also an important element, the definition of which, in accordance with the concluded agreement, is consistent with the definition set out in the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization and reads:
“intellectual property” means rights relating to:
• literary, artistic and scientific works,
• interpretations by interpreters and performances by performers,
• to phonograms and to radio and television programmes,
• inventions in all fields of human activity,
• scientific discoveries,
• industrial designs,
• trademarks and service marks, as well as to trade names and commercial designations,
• protection against unfair competition;
• and all other rights related to intellectual activities in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields.
Pursuant to the Agreement, each Party has the right to a non-exclusive, irrevocable and royalty-free licence in all countries to, among others, public dissemination, e.g. of books or scientific articles that were created as a direct result of the cooperation.
It is worth noting that, generally speaking, the host Party has the right, prior to the arrival of the researcher, to start talks and make arrangements regarding the distribution of intellectual property rights created by the visiting visitor, otherwise the rules of the host institutions will apply. Additionally, a visitor who visits the host institution is only and exclusively involved in carrying out the work planned by it. It is worth noting that the Agreement specifies an exclusion from the above rule that the intellectual property created as part of joint ventures other than the above belongs only and exclusively to the Party for whom, for example, a scientist conducts research.
The agreement also provides, in keeping with its spirit, for the existence of relative rights specifically relating to intellectual property.
Interestingly, if either party finds that a given project may lead or has led to the creation of intellectual property not protected by the law of the other Party, the Parties immediately start talks on the most general solution to this situation. If no agreement is reached, the project will be terminated at the request of either party within three months, which does not contradict the possibility for the authors to receive, among others, appropriate bonus.
It is worth noting that if any invention is made by one of the Parties, it must be disclosed to the other Party. At the same time, each of the Parties may request to delay the publication or public disclosure of information regarding the invention.
The Agreement also emphasizes the protection of confidential commercial information, i.e. information which, pursuant to the Agreement, can be understood as information whose disclosure by a person possessing such information may contribute to the improvement of the financial or non-financial situation of that person.
In accordance with the above, the agreement concluded between Poland and the United States continues the scientific cooperation started in 2006 and, in accordance with the provisions of the currently binding Agreement, it will be binding until 2028. It proves that the process of cooperation brings the desired results.
It is worth noting that the Agreement is based on the principle of freedom of contracts, which plays an important role not only in national legal systems, but also in international law.
It is worth noting that the above Agreement is an example of smooth cooperation between the above-mentioned countries, which has been developing in recent years not only in scientific and technical aspects, but also, for example, in military aspects. However, this form of cooperation is largely based on NATO activities, especially in the current situation, during the war in Ukraine. Nevertheless, before the start of the conflict, countries also cooperated, as exemplified by the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Poland and the Government of the United States of America on enhanced defense cooperation of August 15, 2020.