The defence market is unique: governments are the only end-customers and defence products normally have to be sold to a company’s parent government before they can be exported. This is because export customers want operationally relevant and proven products, with full confidence that the associated doctrine, training and support is in place. Parent governments also dictate where products can be exported to and what, if any, restrictions are to be applied.
Successful defence product development depends on having a deep, trusted partnership between parent government, customer and industry. This enables the customer to reveal important operational parameters and constraints to its industrial partner. Meanwhile industry is able to capitalise on its years of accrued know-how and technology, built on previous developments, research and operational experience with last-generation products, in order to maximise the effectiveness of a new product.
It is clear from the above that IP is the industry life-blood over which defence companies will seek to ensure the tightest legal protections, including strict contractual terms, confidentiality requirements and other means to help prevent misuse/ disclosure.
The Economic, Legal & Trade Modalities and IPR Task Force specifically advises on attractive property rights regimes for industry in various European programs, pilot projects and preparatory actions.