Intellectual property rights (IPR) play an important role under H2020 contracts (Grant and Consortium Agreements). For more information on IPR in H2020, please consult the factsheets and documents of the European IPR helpdesk

The Grant Agreement sets out the general rules regarding IPR, their use and dissemination. The IPR regulations can be found in Section 3 (Rights and obligations related to background and results) of the H2020 Annotated Model Grant Agreements (Articles 23 - 31).  

The Grant Agreement distinguishes between:

  • background - any data, know-how or information, whatever their form or nature as well as any rights such as IPR, that exist before the GA is signed and are needed to implement the action or exploit the results. 
  • results - any data, know-how or information, whatever their form or nature, which are generated by the project, as well as any attached rights, including IPR. 

For many EU projects it is required that a Consortium Agreement is signed between the participants. One of the main purposes of this Consortium Agreement is to settle all IPR issues, including access to background. Even for projects for which the Consortium Agreement is not necessary, it is advisable to have one as it will be very useful in case any problems or issues (not only linked to IPR) arise during the execution of the project. 

The rules with regards to "background" have changed in H2020 compared to FP7:

  • in FP7 participants had the possiblity to declare in the Consortium Agreement all background they do not agree to make available to the other partners;
  • in H2020 participants have the obligation to identify the background of other participants which they will need for the project, in an Annex of the Consortium Agreement. 

As far as the protection and exploitation of the knowledge generated by EU projects is concerned, all beneficiaries (contractors) have an obligation:

  • to protect the results if they are capable of industrial or commercial exploitation. 
  • to use/exploit the results they generate, either for further research, commercial purposes or by estabilishing licensing deals/partnerships to allow exploitation by other entities.
  • to disseminate the results they own as soon as possible and by appropriate means. In H2020, emphasis is put on open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to results. However, for other results, including research data, open access will be mandatory only if it is specifically stated in the GA. 
The CERN Legal Service and the Knowledge Transfer Group should be consulted during the preparation of the Grant and Consortium Agreements, in order to determine whether access to any specific CERN IPR should be made subject to conditions and whether the IPR conditions defined by other partners are acceptable for CERN.

The KT Group must be also kept informed of any “result” generated individually or jointly by CERN under the project, in order to determine whether it should be protected rather than published first, and in order to consider possible approaches for exploitation.