Intellectual Property Rights
This section addresses specific recurring concerns and uncertainties voiced by many potential applicants with respect to Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
Although the Clean Sky 2 JU launches Calls for Proposals per topics instead of per research themes under H2020, the model Clean Sky 2 Grant Agreements lay down the same IP principles and rules applicable under the H2020 model (see relevant IP framework provisions under Section C, Articles 23-31 of the model grant agreement)
Clarification of IP ownership
The background to be brought to the implementation of the action by the beneficiaries must be clearly identified and agreed in advance. The ‘background’ refers to the existing Intellectual Property brought by the Partner to the project.
What is Foreground?
- The Foreground, which is the results generated under the action co-funded by the JU, is the property of the beneficiary performing the work generating that Foreground. Indeed, the Partners signing a grant agreement with the JU to perform a Clean Sky 2 action are beneficiaries of a JU grant and do not become subcontractors of the JU or of the Leaders. Therefore any results and/or IP generated under the action remain the property of the beneficiaries that generated it.
- Where several beneficiaries have jointly carried out work generating Foreground and where their respective share of the work cannot be ascertained, they must have a joint ownership agreement of such Foreground.
Transfer of ownership and licensing
Transfer of ownership of results and licensing is allowed in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the grant agreement. Transfer of results and exclusive licensing to an entity established outside the EU shall be subject to the prior agreement of the JU.
Since the grant agreements for Partners are ‘complementary grants’ (which complement an ITD or IADP), the relevant Topic Manager/CSJU Member responsible for the topic will enjoy access rights to the background used for the implementation of the action and to the Foreground of the action under the conditions set in the model grant agreement. This is meant to allow proper access and integration of the project activities within the ITD/IADP demonstrator/demonstration (see the relevant options under Article 25.5 and Article 31.6 of the model which apply by default to the grant agreement for partners).
The Partner will enjoy a mutual access rights regime to the relevant background and results also vis-à-vis the Topic Manager/CSJU Member as further defined and agreed among the parties.
The topic description may contain specific arrangements on the IP framework and on the use and detention of the projects’ deliverables during and after the end of the action. Applicants are advised to read carefully the detailed topic description.
Exploitation of IP
A plan for the exploitation and dissemination of results needs to be submitted as part of the proposal, including any prospected patent applications (or other forms of IP registration/protection) and the planned use/exploitation of the results in other research projects, in terms of commercial and market exploitation etc.
The beneficiaries are bound to report on both exploitation and dissemination in the course of the project implementation. Please note that the obligation of exploitation of the results lasts 4 years after the end of the action.
Declaration of intended or anticipated exploitation of IP
Applicants are advised to specify any particular aspect or request related to the IPRs treatment already in the proposal to be submitted for evaluation, such as:
- The intended use of the deliverables of the project (models, software packages, equipment, test items) after the completion of the project.
- Whether the partner intends to make commercial use of the software developed for the JU project.
- Whether the partner requires the use of the same model, equipment or test item after the completion of the project for internal use and therefore requires the item back.
- Whether the partner would like to make commercial use of the Foreground generated in the project, proposing exclusivity rights or a specific agreement to the Topic Manager.
The description of the IP framework is part of the proposal and subject of the 6th evaluation criterion 'Contribution to European Competitiveness', which deals with dissemination and/or exploitation of project results and management of intellectual property. Thus, it has an impact on the outcome of the evaluation.
In the Calls for Proposals, the definition of the actual aspects of implementation of the project activities of the Partner with the TM is normally made prior to the signature of the grant agreement with the JU, either by signing a bilateral Implementation Agreement with the ITD/IADP Topic Manager or (where applicable) by acceding to the ITD/IADP Consortium Agreement. The JU is not a party to such agreements, but will require proof that such an agreement is in place normally prior to the signature of the grant agreement with the Partner and the start of the activities.
Please bear in mind that in the grant agreement for Partners, the implementation aspects of the project activities and schedule, in order to allow proper and timely integration within the ITD/IADP, have to be agreed by the Partner with the Topic Manager and the JU during the technical sessions with the TM and the grant preparation stage leading to the signature of the Grant Agreement for Partner with the JU which is the applicable contractual framework of the grant.
For further clarification...
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 The beneficiaries must, under the conditions set out in Article 25.2 and Article 25.3, give access to their background to the complementary beneficiary that is the Topic Manager
 The beneficiaries must, under the conditions set out in Article 31.2 and 31.3, give access to their results to the complementary beneficiary that is the Topic Manager