The general rules concerning intellectual property rights can be found in the Rules for Participation, which apply to all funding programmes carried out under Horizon 2020, as well as in the grant agreement signed between the beneficiaries and the European funding body. A company participating in Horizon 2020 and concluding an agreement with a funding organisation or the Commission, for example signing a grant agreement with the Commission, will have to comply with these rules.

The general IPR rules and requirements applying to Horizon 2020 participants are in many ways similar to those applying under FP7:

  • In terms of ownership of project results, the general principle is that such results are owned by the beneficiary which generates them.
  • In the case where results have been generated by two or several partners jointly, and if it is not possible to establish the joint contribution of each beneficiary or to separate the results for the purposes of applying for, obtaining or maintaining their protection, the model grant agreement establishes a default joint ownership regime.
  • Similarly to FP7, the model grant agreement for Horizon 2020 provides for a general obligation for beneficiaries to exploit and disseminate the project results that they own.
  • The new model grant agreement also provides the obligation for project partners to grant access rights to their background and foreground, for implementation and exploitation purposes.

Specific additional rules concerning intellectual property rights may also be laid down in the grant agreement and work programme applicable to particular projects, for example in areas related to security, infrastructures, European Research Council (ERC), training and mobility, coordination and support, SMEs and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)