Intellectual Property Rights
Supported by the European Commission, the IPR helpdesk is a free service for all researchers who have questions
about why and how to protect ideas.
There you can find information on the following points. These sections are clickable, press Ctrl and click to access the
» Confidentiality Agreements
» Confidentiality Agreement Model
» Protection of an idea or a concept
» General Overview of IP Protection Tools
» Intellectual Property & Business, Basic Concepts
Patents and Utility Models
» Forms of Legal Protection for Technical Inventions
» What is the European patent?
» The European Patent - how to obtain it
» How much does a patent cost?
» Intellectual Property & Business, Basic Concepts
» Licensing biotechnology
» How to avoid high patent litigation costs
» Trade secrets
» Plant Variety Protection
Topographies of semiconductor products
» Legal protection of topographies of semiconductor products
» Community Design
» Trade Marks
» How much does a trademark cost?
Geographical Indications, Designations of Origin
» Protection of geographical indications and designations of origin
» Software Copyright
» Employees' Creations - copyright -
» Cumulative Protection of Designs in EU Member States: Designs and Copyright
» Software development agreements
» Copyright and the Internet
» .EU domain name
» Domain Names
» Electronic signature
» The Regulation of Unsolicited Commercial Communications (aka: spam)
» Technological protection measures
» Checklist before entering into a Technology Transfer agreement
» Core Content of Licensing Agreements
» Types of licence agreements in patent law
» Basic considerations for valuing IP
Enforcement of IPR
» Harmonization of the law on the enforcement of IPR in the EC
» Guide to Border Enforcement of IPRs in the EU
» Alternative Dispute Resolution systems as means to solve IP-related conflicts
» Information and evidence in the proceedings concerning an infringement of intellectual property rights
» Jurisdiction over infringements of intellectual property rights
In the context of Framework Programme research funding from the European Commission, there are guidelines for
researchers on how to protect their intellectual property, and how to manage this issues in a trans-national project
Framework Programme 7 guidelines on intellectual property Rights (IPR) and Pre Existing Know-How (PEKH) aim for
as much continuity as possible with FP6. The main proposed changes are based on experience from the
implementation of FP6 to allow more flexibility.
The main changes are defined by Regulation No. 1906/2006, which establishes the Rules for Participation in the FP7
(Chapter III, articles 39 to 51).
• FP7 removes most of the obligations for participants to finalise conditions prior to their accession to the EC contract
• FP7 removes most obligations to request prior approval from the Commission for publication, transfers of ownership
and provision of access rights to third parties, where all other partners agree.
The main changes in definitions are:
• ‘background’ replaces the concept of ‘pre-existing know-how-PEKH’. It always refers to information and attached
rights held by the participants prior to their accession to their Grant Agreement and needed for carrying out the project
or for using its results, but not longer includes information generated in parallel but outside the projects (sideground);
• ‘foreground’ replaces ‘knowledge’, but maintains the same definition as in FP6.
In FP7, if a participant does not wish to protect knowledge (foreground), he can then offer the other participants the
option of ownership before offering this to the Commission. It will also be possible for a participant to offer exclusive
access rights to a third party if all the other participants agree to waive their rights to access.
Where several participants have jointly carried out work generating foreground and their respective share of the work
cannot be ascertained, they all have joint ownership of such foreground. In the absence of a clear agreement
between parties, a default regime facilitates the exploitation of jointly owned results. In fact, where no joint ownership
agreement has been concluded regarding the allocation and terms of exercising that joint ownership, each of the joint
owners is entitled to grant non-exclusive licenses to third parties, based on prior notice and reasonable compensation.
If employees or other personnel working for a participant are entitled to claim rights to foreground, the participant
must, in any case, ensure that it is possible to exercise those rights in a manner compatible with its obligations
published under the Grant Agreement.
Foreground will become the property of the Community only in the following cases:
• Coordination and support actions consisting in a purchase or service subject to the rules on public procurement set
out in the Financial Regulation;
• Coordination and support actions relating to independent experts Therefore, foreground from all other indirect
actions is considered property of the participants carrying out the work generating that foreground.
The new arrangements for IPR under FP7 are summarised in the table below:
Further information and guidance for IPR under FP7 is available at:
(changes from FP6 to FP7)