Each beneficiary under a H2020 project has an obligation to examine the possibility of protecting its results and protect them adequately if such results can reasonably be expected to be commercially or industrially exploited. The form of protection, its duration and geographical coverage should depend on and be adequate for the particular results. Nonetheless, the reference to industrial or commercial applicability means that not all results have to be protected. For instance, for results that are not expected to be commercially or industrially exploited or whose protection is impossible under European Union or national law or not justified, there is no such obligation.

Furthermore, when deciding whether to protect results or not, the beneficiaries must also consider the other beneficiaries’ legitimate interests and conform to all the relevant legal provisions, including the provisions set out in the Consortium Agreement. Where a participant does not intend to protect a result, it is also best practice to consider offering to transfer it to other consortium partners or third parties established in a Member State or associated country, better positioned for the exploitation of the results and willing to seek their protection.

It is also to be noticed that if valuable results are left unprotected, the Commission may take over their ownership.