Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) management is a crucial element for the GÉANT Project. CONNECT spoke with Magdalena Rzaca, GÉANT’s GDPR & IPR Legal Advisor about the new Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy which will apply to the GÉANT GN5-1 Project and to any other future EU-funded GÉANT projects.
Magdalena, what will this new IPR policy mean for the GÉANT community and why was it important to implement it now?
With the new GÉANT project – GN5-1 – starting in January 2023, the timing for updating the intellectual property framework was perfect. The new IPR policy provides simplified steps for project participants and – more importantly – it will be revised on a bi-annual basis, ensuring its ongoing relevance for our community. Having simpler IPR rules is also essential for boosting international cooperation and that is fundamental for the project and its partners.
What are the main differences with the previous IPR policy?
The old policy, created in 2011, was quite outdated and as a very long document it was not user-friendly. The new IPR policy is much shorter, but at the same time more specific when it comes to the description of the different IPR requirements.
Just to name a few changes: the new policy recommends the use of permissive Open-Source Software (OSS) licences for the software. For OSS, the new policy is also introducing a new step which aims to ensure OSS licence compliance. For other types of materials (papers, presentations) a non-commercial creative commons licence was recommended. The new policy also clarifies actions connected with the recording of results in the IP register and highlights the importance of IP training, which will be provided with the help of the IPR Coordinator – a role supporting project partners and participants in the area of Intellectual Property.
Can you tell us more about the process that led to the new policy?
The process included extensive consultations with our community, carried out via several infoshares to explain both the policy as well as the various changes that were made. This result wouldn’t be possible without the support from the community and from GÉANT CEO Erik Huizer.
As part of the process of updating the IPR policy, I collected the detailed feedback and carefully analysed it. The questions raised by our partners added great value and I feel extremely lucky to be a part of such an amazing community! A subsequent phase of feedback collection took place in the form of a survey.
Finally, after two years of dedicated effort, the new policy was approved by the GÉANT General Assembly (GA) in June 2022 at TNC22 in Trieste. It’s worth mentioning here that the approval of the IPR Policy was a matter requiring a special resolution of the GA (as per article 10 of the Consortium Agreement: “The members of each Consortium, through the General Assembly, shall determine the intellectual property right policies”).
What are the next steps?
Preparing and getting the approval for the new policy was an important step, but now providing policy-related training is the priority! Hence, for the GÉANT Project, we are planning to introduce IPR onboarding in order to create proper awareness of IP topics. Also, additional topic-specific training will be provided, for example on licence compliance in Open-Source Software, which is already broadly used in almost all software development activities in the GÉANT Project. On the topic of OSS, we also plan to carry further consultations with our community to identify the most common problems and to provide further support.
The first Open Source Software Licensing Workshop for Software Developers will take place 23 and 24 November 2022. You can register here: https://connect.geant.org/2022/10/18/open-source-software-licensing-workshop-for-software-developers-23-24-nov-2022
The first infoshare focused on explaining the main differences and key points of the new IPR Policy will take place on 25 November 2022. You can register here: https://events.geant.org/event/1314