Research and development (“R&D”) contracts under EU and German law can be broadly divided into two groups: On the one hand, cooperation contracts for joint research and development, and on the other hand, contracts for contract research. In the case of cooperation agreements, the focus is on regulations governing the protection of research results and the use or marketing of the developed technology. In the case of contract research, it is essential whether the rights to the results are transferred to the client or whether these rights remain with the contractor and are then licensed. In the latter case, there is naturally a strong overlap with a license agreement. Furthermore, contracts can be divided into agreements between several companies in the private sector on the one hand and agreements between private companies and universities on the other.
For the basic regulations of R&D contracts under German and EU law, there are free samples and forms, so that legal advice may seem dispensable at first glance. Ultimately, however, each project may be factually very different. For all of the above types of contract, this applies in particular to the definition of existing legacy rights, the R&D work to be performed, its remuneration, and the treatment of new rights resulting from the work. The individual specifics should be taken into account in the contract. For this purpose, it is generally advisable to engage an experienced and specialized lawyer. This applies above all – but not only – to cross-border R&D projects.