The following is an overview of Part II of the General Clauses and Conditions (GCC) for ESA Contracts (ESA/REG/002, rev.1), which deals specifically with Intellectual Property Rights. Part II is based on the ESA Council Resolution entitled ‘Rules Concerning Information, Data and Intellectual Property’ adopted on 19 December 2001 (ESA/C/CLV/Rules 5 (Final)).
Part II relates to all contracts relating to research and development in the field of space technology and its applications. It does not apply to service contracts or non-technical research contracts.
Part II of the General Clauses and Conditions makes a clear distinction between "fully funded contracts" and "partly funded contracts".
For the first category of contract, the general regime in Part II A of the General Clauses and Conditions is applicable. A contract is considered ‘partly funded’ if the Agency finances around 50 percent of the development costs of the space research and development activity covered by the contract, and the contractor finances the rest. In that case, the special regime in Part II B of the General Clauses and Conditions applies.
Part II also makes the important distinction between IP created under an ESA contract (also known as "foreground IP") and "background IP" - IP that the contractor has previously and independently created (i.e., not developed under an ESA contract). This distinction is made both for fully funded and partly funded contracts.
References to specific clauses of the GCC appear in parenthesis. This is not a complete synopsis of all terms contained in Part II GCC and should not be referred to as such.
Note: this article does not address the special rules contained in the GCC which apply to software-related IPR.
The full text of the ESA Council Resolution can be found at:
The full text of the GCC can be found at: