Licenses/Access Rights to IP and Results

Research Contracts should set out whether the participants will have the right to see results generated by the others. These are often called ‘access rights’. They do not give you the right to use those results in any way but simply a right to review them. Having reviewed them you might decide that you would like a licence to use them. Any such access rights will no doubt be governed by confidentiality provisions.

Participants may need a licence to use the Background IP of others to carry out the research. They may also need a licence to use the Background IP of others to enable them to commercialise their own Foreground IP. Where you have retained ownership of your Foreground IP it may be that the other participants are to be given a licence to use that Foreground IP.

It may be that any ownership of Foreground IP or licence to use Foreground IP is useless on its own because the Foreground IP needs some Background IP to be able to use it. In this case it is usual to grant a non-exclusive licence of the Background IP simply for the purposes of using and commercialising the Foreground IP. It will vary from case to case as to whether a royalty is payable for such a licence, but your institution will probably want some reward. It will very much depend upon the funding which has been given to your research institution for the Research Contract by the other participant.