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Access Rights in FP7

Why to deal with this? Access Rights to IP in are an important question in order to realize complex, interdisciplinary RTD projects. Especially consortia with partners from research and industry with both a pre-competitive development phase and product exploitation phase need clear rules for the access and the ownership of intellectual property (IP).

FP7 provides a clear IP regime.

Access Rights to IP in FP7, Source: KoWi 2006

Projects need to define access rights to IP before the actual start of the project, covering the phases during and after the project in a so-called consortium agreement. Model agreements are available. The most prominent model contract is the DESCA model which covers IP issues as well as internal organization issues or conflict mediation rules. It seeks to balance the interests of all of the main participant categories in FP research projects: large and small firms, universities, public research institutes and so called “other” contracting parties (e.g. associations, unions, networks, cluster). FP7 differs two sorts of IP:

  • background summarizes all intellectual property of one partner that already exists within that particular organization and is needed to conduct the research for the project.
  • foreground is new IP generated in the course of the research project (drawing on existing background)

Appropriate access to the necessary foreground and background has to be granted. This means that:

  • the consortium ensures that foreground is exploited and disseminated in the first place
  • the access is granted royalty-free to conduct the envisaged research work within the frame of the project
  • the access to background and foreground necessary to use project results shall be granted under fair and reasonable conditions to any project partner.
When is it suitable/applicable? The definition of access rights is mandatory for all FP7 projects.
When is it NOT suitable/applicable? Attention: There is a different standard regime in the scheme Research the Benefit of SME (FP7 SME) because of contracted research. IP resides with the SMEs.
What costs are related to it (financial, time effort etc.)? Option1:
  • proof reading and adaption of a model agreement

Option 2:

  • outsourcing to legal experts (perhaps for projects which involve major and valuable IP)

What’s the relevant HTE output? The Hightech Europe partners are experienced with European funding programmes, even though the project itself does not focus on access rights and intellectual property. This website (Food Tech Innovation Portal) helps you identify technologies and suitable partners for European R&D projects, including comments on IP for each technology.
Whom can I talk to from the HTE team? Most partners will be able to signpost you to an organisation or consultancy specialised in IP.

Title Access Rights in FP7
Aspect Legal/ IP
Latest Version 19-07-2012
Completed by ZENIT


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Created by Hte zenit on 19 July 2012, at 13:00