Intellectual propertyFrequently asked questions

No, you do not have to sign the Agreement although  you should be aware that if you do not sign the Agreement you may not be able to work on externally funded projects. You should discuss this with your supervisor in the first instance. 

No, you continue to own your own IP as you are not an employee of the University.  It is only if you have signed a Student Assignment and Confidentiality Agreement that the University will own your IP.

It is good practice to ensure a Collaboration Agreement is in place at the start of any collaboration. Such an agreement would set out how IP would be dealt with. In the absence of such an Agreement, the invention would be owned by those who had invented it (or their employers) and the Universities would discuss and decide ownership and exploitation. Usually, one University would lead to exploitation with an obligation to keep the other Universities informed and to share any income generated by the exploitation of the IP.

For information on what to do if you think you have developed IP that has commercial potential, contact the IP & Commercialisation team.

Inventorship credit should be based on substantial contributions to the invention and where the invention is to be protected by patent, any contribution must be able to be substantiated.  Generally, the University relies upon the inventors to agree who the inventors were; their % inventorship contribution and therefore what their share in any revenue should be. A revenue-sharing agreement will be put in place and it is possible to include non-inventors in this.

For information on what to do if you think you have developed IP that has commercial potential, support is available from the IP & Commercialisation team.

Ownership of the invention, in this case, will depend upon the contract governing the funding from the third party. If the funding is a grant from a Research Council or charity the invention will usually be owned by the University. The situation can be more complex if the funding is from a commercial organisation or has been developed as part of a collaborative project with other organisations. Your first point of contact should be the IP & Commercialisation team. to discuss your invention and they will provide advice on ownership.

We understand that publishing is crucial to your academic career and indeed the IP & Commercialisation Policy recognises that research should be conducted for the benefit of society, and should be published openly and widely in order to make research findings available to the public. However, protecting the IP you’ve created prior to publication gives you many more options for creating impact, whether via licensing, spinout company formation or social enterprise formation.

If you are keen to publish or issue a press release in relation to your work, please speak with a member of the IP & Commercialisation team as early as possible.  This will allow you to explore the commercial potential of your research and options for protection prior to publication.  Email to start the conversation.