Do the Horizon 2020 intellectual property rules also apply to beneficiaries located in a third country?

Yes. In fact, wherever their location (EU and countries associated to Horizon 2020, or third countries), beneficiaries which become involved in a Horizon 2020 project will have to sign the grant agreement with the European Commission. Consequently, these beneficiaries will have the rights and obligations set forth in the grant agreement, in particular with regard to background and project results.

Furthermore, neither the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation nor the model grant agreement make any distinction between project beneficiaries based on the country they are located in.

What is the difference between beneficiaries and third parties in Horizon 2020?

In the context of Horizon 2020 the term beneficiary (i.e. a "participant") is used to describe a legal entity which has signed the Grant Agreement and therefore is bound by its terms and conditions with regards to the European Union (represented by the European Commission or another funding body). The beneficiary must carry out an action or a part of an action funded under Horizon 2020. Furthermore, the term beneficiary also refers to participants that do not receive EU funding but must carry out  tasks under an action and comply with most of the obligations under the Grant Agreement.

Do we need to submit a list of background in the proposal phase or it can be defined after the project approval within the consortium agreement?

In Horizon 2020 no specific requirements to identify background within the project proposals exist.

The Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation and the General model GA oblige the parties “to identify in any manner and agree in writing” upon the background for the project.  Although not mandatory, it is advised to agree on background before the Grant Agreement is signed, to ensure that beneficiaries have access rights to what is needed to implement the action or exploit the project results.

We are currently negotiating a Horizon 2020 proposal with an entity which, although it is eligible to participate in the project, is not eligible for EU funding. Will this entity have the same rights and obligations as we do as regards IP?

Several obligations of the model general grant agreement will not apply to beneficiaries which do not receive EU funding. Regarding intellectual property, this concerns in particular articles 26.4, 28.1, 28.2, 30.3 and 31.5, which will not apply to these beneficiaries.

These articles are specific ones which are mostly linked to the EU’s rights over the results – however, the general principles in terms of intellectual property will remain applicable to beneficiaries which do not receive EU funding.

What is the IPR situation for any organisation or company participating in Horizon 2020?

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.

In Horizon 2020 are there guidelines that recommend how IPR should be handled within a consortium?

The European Commission has created an online manual for Horizon 2020, which will feature an intellectual property guide.

The H2020 online manual is currently being updated and can be accessed from the following URL:

Are there any changes in terms of IP between FP7 and Horizon 2020?

The intellectual property rules for Horizon 2020 programme have been included in the Rules for Participation, as was the case in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

The rules on intellectual property rights in Horizon 2020 are based on the FP7 rules, with some further improvements and clarifications. There are, however, a few differences, such as: