IPR (2): Intellectual Property during Grant Preparation

Once you have developed your project’s IPR strategy within the proposal and that the latter has been successfully accepted (see  “IPR at the proposal stage”), it is essential to formally establish IPR rights and obligations in both the Grant Agreement (GA) and the Consortium Agreement (CA) before the project is implemented.

Chapter 4 Section 3 of the Grant Agreement, Rights and Obligations related to Background and Results defines basic and non-negotiable IP rules. They cover access rights to background, obligation and rights relating to ownership, protection, exploitation and dissemination of results, as well as transfer of ownership, licensing and access rights to third parties.

However, IP rules must also be agreed upon by all participants prior to the GA signature. Accordingly, the Consortium Agreement foresees a clear and precise internal management of IPR. If the Consortium Agreement fails to provide enough provisions on IPR, or if provisions in both agreements conflict, rules in the Grant Agreement will always prevail.

IPR provisions in the Consortium Agreement should include the following:

  • Knowledge management: establishment of a committee to monitor IP development during project implementation
  • Confidentiality: obligations and limits regarding transfer of confidentiality , who is allowed to access the project’s information and data, confidentiality of data and results after the end of the project
  • Background constitutes all pre-existing IP that is needed for the development of the project. As such, arrangement should be made to define background access rights. In addition, in the case that background belonging to a participant is used, provisions concerning ownership of and royalties for background improvements are essential.
  • Sideground: IP developed in parallel of the project by one of the participants
  • General principles of joint-ownership are also necessary in order to establish a basis for future negotiations on joint-ownership agreements. Joint-ownership should cover territorial division for registering the invention, division of market for commercial exploitation, regime for protection and regime for exploitation (profit sharing)
  • Legal protection: in case the results lead to a possible industrial or commercial exploitation, the interests of all participants should be protected
  • Exploitation: in the Horizon 2020 framework, all projects must lead to the exploitation of research results. Participants are obligated to take measures to ensure exploitation within 4 years after the end of the project. Either participants exploit their own results directly, or indirectly (through transferring and licensing of results to a third party)
  • Dissemination: as the GA defines a time limit for the dissemination of results, the CA should cover the conditions and means of such dissemination. Bear in mind that within the Horizon 2020 framework, open access to scientific peer reviewed publications is required for the project’s end-results
  • Transfer of ownership: objections from other participants must be taken into account
  • Access rights to third parties: includes licences and user rights to results, background and sideground

For more information 

IPR Helpdesk Factsheet, How to Manage IP in Horizon 2020: Grant Preparation


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