Where foreground is capable of industrial or commercial application, it must be protected in an adequate and effective manner by its owner.
Yes. They can.
However prior notice about the intention to transfer the foreground must be given to the other project partners together with sufficient information concerning the future owner so as to permit them to exercise their access rights. Transfer of ownership is generally allowed, as long as the obligations regarding that foreground are passed on to the transferee.
In the proposal phase potential participants develop ideas for joint research activities. Potential project partners should know what knowledge they each bring, what they may need from others, what the state of the art is in the field of the project, and should develop a strategy on protection, use and dissemination of the future results. Such activities require discussions, exchange of information and ideas between the potential participants. Exchanging information with other potential partners is, thus, a necessity while planning a project proposal.
The standard model Grant Agreement (GA) does not establish the obligation to formally inform or consult the other participants before taking measures to protect the foreground (for example by filing a patent application) or before deciding not to protect it. Nevertheless, it is advisable to inform them in advance, so they be in a position to express possible legitimate interests.
According to the Rules for Participation and the standard model Grant Agreement, foreground resulting from the project is owned by the participant “carrying out the work generating that foreground”. In case participants have carried out the work jointly and their respective share cannot be ascertained, such foreground is generally jointly owned.
Valuable foreground should be protected. Protection is not mandatory in all cases, although the decision not to protect foreground should preferably be made in consultation with the other participants, which may wish to take ownership. If valuable foreground is left unprotected, the Commission may take ownership.
Where knowledge created in FP projects is capable of industrial or commercial applications, its owner shall provide for its adequate and effective protection, in conformity with relevant legal provisions, including the contract and the Consortium Agreement, and having due regard to the legitimate interests of the contractors concerned.