Intellectual Property, or IP, is most of the time seen as the nemesis of H2020 projects. While the main interest of EU projects is to make partners from different horizons work hand in hand, how can you be sure that you all share the same interest? Because, at the end of the day, everyone wants to protect their discovery and data while using others for the “sake of research”. But the big questions remain: ultimately, who owns what? And what can we do with others results? Those questions are essential, and yet, need to be resolved at the very beginning of each project.
But first things first:
What is Intellectual Property exactly?
IP refers to the creations of the mind (or intellect) such as inventions; literary and artistic works; models and designs, etc.
Intellectual Property Rights or IPRs are the rights granted to creators of IP, and include patents, copyright and related rights, trademarks, know-how, trade secrets, industrial designs, designs, drawings, reports, methods of research and developments, documented data, and description of inventions and discoveries.
The main goal of IP is for inventors and authors to create and disclose their ideas and knowledge safely by assigning them the monopoly of their work. In H2020 projects it will allow you to share your discoveries with your partners without any risk of a confidentiality breach.
Why should you care about IP at an early stage of your project?
As you can read in the European IPR Helpdesk document: Your guide to IP in Horizon 2020:
“Excellence” and “Impact” are key criteria under which your project will be evaluated by the European Commission. You should therefore demonstrate the high scientific and technological quality of your project (i.e. show how innovative it is), and outline the anticipated impact particularly in terms of the potential for commercial and industrial exploitation of project results.
To ensure the future of your project, you should really care about every aspect of IP:
- From the IP related rules applicable to your Grant Agreement (GA) to the question of costs for potential protection in your business planning.
- Consider what’s already out there, the existing knowledge and potential rights of third parties you’ll be needed.
- Demonstrate how groundbreaking your project is compared to them.
- Know exactly where you come from, and where you aim to go. Create a clear plan for the dissemination and the exploitation of your project results.
At this point, your project should be well in place, but you’ll still have a lot of IP issues to deal with before its term. What to do next lies in the hands of each and every partner: settlements about IP-related questions in the GA and the Consortium Agreement, management and transfer of ownership, protection of your own results, etc.
For more information, we encourage you to go and read the complete European IPR Helpdesk document: Your guide to IP in Horizon 2020. Need Impact experts to help with your next project? Then don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.