Art. 65. Innovation partnerships

1. The contracting authorities and the contracting entities may recur to innovation parthnerships in cases where the need to develop innovative products, services or works and to subsequently purchase the ensuing supplies, services or works cannot, on the basis of a justified reason, be met by recurring to solutions already available on the market, provided that the ensuing supplies, services or works correspond to the maximum levels of provision and to the costs agreed upon among the participating contracting authorities or contracting entities.

2. In the contract documents, contracting authorities and contracting authorities or contracting entities shall fix the minimum requirements that all tenderers must meet, in a sufficiently precise way as to enable economic operators to identify the nature and scope of the required solution and decide whether to participate in the procedure.

3. In innovation partnerships, any economic operator may submit a request to participate in response to a contract notice or to a call for competition, by providing the information requested by the contracting station for qualitative selection.

4. The contracting authority and the contracting entity may decide to set up the innovation partnership with one partner or more economic operators conducting separate research and development activities. The minimum time limit for receipt of requests to participate shall be 30 days from the date on which the contract notice is sent. Only those economic operators invited by the contracting authorities or the contracting entities following the assessment of the information provided may participate in the procedure. Contracting authorities or contracting entities may limit the number of suitable candidates to be invited to participate in the procedure in accordance with Article 91. The contracts shall be awarded on the sole basis of the award criterion of the best price-quality ratio in accordance with Article 95.

5. The innovation partnership shall be structured in successive phases following the sequence of steps in the research and innovation process, which may include the manufacturing of the products, the provision of the services or the completion of the works. The innovation partnership shall set intermediate targets to be attained by the partners and provide for payment of the remuneration in appropriate instalments. Based on those targets, the contracting authority or the contracting entity may decide, after each phase, to terminate the innovation partnership or, in the case of an innovation partnership with several operators, to reduce the number of operators by terminating individual contracts, provided that the contracting authority has indicated in the procurement documents those possibilities and the conditions for their use.

6. Unless otherwise provided for in this Article, contracting authorities or contracting entities shall negotiate with tenderers the initial and all subsequent tenders submitted by them, except for the final tender, to improve the content thereof. The minimum requirements and the award criteria shall not be subject to negotiations.

7. During the negotiations, contracting authorities or contracting entities shall ensure the equal treatment of all tenderers. To that end, they shall not provide information in a discriminatory manner which may give some tenderers an advantage over others. They shall inform all tenderers whose tenders have not been eliminated, pursuant to paragraph 8, in writing of any changes to the technical specifications or other procurement documents other than those setting out the minimum requirements. Following those changes, contracting authorities or contracting entities shall provide sufficient time for tenderers to modify and re-submit amended tenders, as appropriate. In accordance with Article 53, contracting authorities or contracting entities shall not reveal to the other participants confidential information communicated by a candidate or tenderer participating in the negotiations without its agreement. Such agreement shall not take the form of a general waiver but shall be given with reference to the explicitly indicated communication of specific information.

8. Negotiations during innovation partnership procedures may take place in successive stages in order to reduce the number of tenders to be negotiated by applying the award criteria specified in the contract notice, in the invitation to confirm interest or in the procurement documents. In the contract notice, the invitation to confirm interest or in the procurement documents, the contracting authority or the contracting entity shall indicate whether it will use that option.

9. In selecting candidates, contracting authorities or contracting entities shall in particular apply criteria concerning the candidates’ capacity in the field of research and development and of developing and implementing innovative solutions. Only those economic operators invited by the contracting authorities or the contracting entities following the assessment of the requested information may submit research and innovation projects. In the procurement documents, the contracting authority or the contracting entity shall define the arrangements applicable to intellectual property rights. In the case of an innovation partnership with several operators, the contracting authority or the contracting entity shall not, in accordance with Article 53, reveal to the other operators solutions proposed or other confidential information communicated by an operator in the framework of the partnership without that partner’s agreement. Such agreement shall not take the form of a general waiver but shall be given with reference to the intended communication of specific information.

10. The contracting authority or contracting entity shall ensure that the structure of the partnership and, in particular, the duration and value of the different phases reflect the degree of innovation of the proposed solution and the sequence of the research and innovation activities required for the development of an innovative solution not yet available on the market. The estimated value of supplies services or works shall not be disproportionate in relation to the investment required for their development.