In Horizon 2020, third parties do not sign the grant agreement and consequently are not project beneficiaries – for this reason, they do not have any “automatic” rights to the results under the grant agreement, according to which results are owned by the beneficiary generating them.
Furthermore, when resorting to third parties to carry out tasks under the action, and in case these third parties are entitled to claim rights over the results, the beneficiary concerned should make sure that it complies with its own obligations under the grant agreement. This means getting all the necessary rights from these third parties beforehand. This can be done by way of a transfer (assignment agreement) from the subcontractor to the beneficiary. Alternatively, this can also be done by way of a licence granted to this beneficiary over the subcontracted work. A licence should, however, be broad enough to allow the beneficiary to grant access rights – this means that it should include a right to sublicense. Such arrangements (transfer or licence) have to be made upon the signature of the subcontracting agreement.
The grant agreement therefore allows some flexibility on this topic and the ownership of certain project results can be left to the subcontractor, as long as the beneficiary is granted all the rights necessary for the implementation of the project and the exploitation of the results, in line with the grant agreement.