Agreement between firms to jointly undertake research and development (R & D) activities, in order to pool know-how and to share the costs and risks of inventing new products. An R & D agreement normally covers the acquisition of know-how relating to products or processes; the carrying out of theoretical analysis, systematic study or experimentation, including experimental production, technical testing of products or processes; and the establishment of the necessary facilities and obtaining intellectual property rights for the results. Such agreements may allow products or services to be introduced on the market more quickly, at better quality and/or at lower cost, thus promoting technical progress for the benefit of consumers. The Commission needs to take these positive effects into account when analysing possible restrictions on competition arising from such agreements, especially when concluded between competitors.

Source: Glossary of terms used in EU competition policy, Antitrust and control of concentrations, European Commission, 2002