TalTech Journal of European Studies (Sep 2021)

The Legal Implications of Public Support Policies Targeting Research, Development and Innovation in the European Union

  • Dutt Pawan Kumar,
  • Nyman-Metcalf Katrin

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 2
pp. 102 – 129


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The research problem of this article focuses on how the public support system in Estonia can help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to acquire and commercialise their intellectual property rights (IPR) in a sustainable and legally permissible manner. The study aims to analyse and determine which specific public support measures are needed by SMEs for acquiring and commercialising IPR and how to design such public support within the legal boundaries set under European Union (EU) laws. The theoretical framework used in this study is built around the social system as defined by Parsons. The 4S Model (based on scope, scale, skill and social networking) derived by researchers from the said social system is considered. Further, 19 key attributes were devised by the authors in conjunction with the role of motivation to form a revised framework. The analysis employs qualitative research methods. To apply the framework of social systems theory, the authors used semi-structured interviews as a method to study the public support measures required by Estonian stakeholders. This was also analysed in the framework of EU State aid law, which poses both restrictions and exemptions. This research presents several desired support measures. Although the public support systems for acquiring and commercialising IPR by SMEs are restrained by legal frameworks within the EU, the analysis of the relevant laws and cases shows that State aid for RDI purposes is legally permissible within the EU, depending on the state’s willingness and availability of funds.