Contracts & Intellectual Property


A research contract is a legally binding agreement that sets out the rights and obligations of the parties concerned, and which forms the basis of a relationship around a particular research programme, exchange of information or materials or other collaboration.

  • Research contract. This is a contract which provides funding for a specific research project. It can be funded by a company, government body, agency, and it contains terms and conditions governing the conduct of the project, as well as obligations incumbent upon the University Spiru Haret (USH) and the funder. The purpose of a research contract is to set out the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in a research project, i.e. the USH, the academics, researchers, students and the funding body.
  • European Commission Grant. Three forms of grants are proposed for the EU financial contribution:
    • reimbursement of eligible costs,
    • lump sums, and
    • flat-rate financing (the latter can be based on scale of unit costs but also includes flat rates for indirect costs).

    These may be used to cover the entire EUfinancial contribution for a funding scheme or more than one may be used in combination. For most funding schemes, reimbursement of eligible costs is the preferred method.

  • European Commission Consortium Agreement. Consortium Agreements for European Commission projects are mandatory for most Framework Programme 7 (FP7) projects and the Commission requires that the Consortium Agreement is negotiated and signed before it will sign the Grant Agreement (i.e. the contract) for the project.  The Consortium Agreement is concluded between all partners in the consortium but the Commission is not a party to it. Consortium Agreements supplement the Grant Agreement by expanding on and clarifying key terms and conditions (e.g. Intellectual Property, confidentiality, liability, publication rights) and provide details of the internal management and working practices of the consortium (e.g. voting rights, internal reporting structure, dispute resolution).
  • Confidentiality or Non-Disclosure Agreement (CDA or NDA). This is an agreement to regulate the ways by which confidential information, including Intellectual Property, may be disclosed by one party to another. The agreement sets out the terms of disclosure and whether information is returned to the provider or destroyed upon request. Confidential information includes any information, results or know-how that is owned by someone, and which the owner wishes to be kept secret. The disclosure of confidential information requires that a confidentiality agreement is signed before any discussions take place.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP) is the term used to describe creative outputs that can be legally protected arising from scientific, engineering, literary and artistic endeavours such as the results arising from research.Intellectual Property can be categorised into two groups: the first requires registration (the registration process may involve corresponding with an examiner before the IPR is granted), e.g. patents; the second arises automatically on creation of the IP, e.g. copyright.

Registered Intellectual Property:

  • Patent
    A patent is a state granted monopoly for an invention, such as a pharmaceutical or widget, and is granted by the state in exchange for the details of the invention being published.
  • Design right
    A design right protects the outward appearance of an article or a set of articles of manufacture to which the design is applied, e.g. the shape of a container. Should they be granted the proprietor has the exclusive right to make articles with that appearance for up to twenty-five years.
  • Trade mark
    A trade mark protects a brand or image, e.g. a word or logo which distinguishes the goods or services of one trader from those of another. Registration is only possible if the mark is distinctive, if it is found acceptable by the trade mark examiner and if it is advertised to give third parties the opportunity to oppose. Once it meets these conditions, the trade mark will be registered for ten years from the date of filing the application and can be kept in force indefinitely by renewal at intervals of ten years.

Unregistered Intellectual Property:

  • Copyright
    Copyright is the right to prevent the copying of original literary, artistic and musical works, e.g. text, graphics, software, data, art, music. Copyright arises automatically whenever such a work is physically recorded and does not require registration. Copyright protection normally lasts for the lifetime of the author plus seventy years, although there are some exceptions.
  • Database rights
    A database right protects the systematic arrangement of a collection of data, but not the data itself. Database rights last for fifteen years and can be extended if the database is updated.
  • Confidential information
    Confidential information and know-how are non-public ideas and information, such as know-how, data, technical data, contracts, documentation, presentations, business plans, formulas, products, specifications, rules and procedures, product plans, business methods, product functionality, services, formats, methodologies, applications, developments, process es, payment, designs, drawings, algorithms, marketing or finance. The term of any confidential informatio n or know-how can be infinite, as it continues until the confidential information or know-how is disclosed publ icly.
  • Unregistered trade mark
    An unregistered trade mark may benefit from some protection under common law if a reputation has been built up in that trade mark and that reputation has been harmed by someone else’s use of the mark.
  • Unregistered design mark
    An unregistered design right protects against the copying of features, shape or configuration of industrially produced articles. Protection arises automatically when a design is created. It does not require any form of official application or registration.

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