Intellectual Property (IP) describes the application of the mind to develop something new or original which can be legally protected.
Awareness of IP rights is an increasingly important issue for the University and researchers. Researchers continually generate IP and the strategic and thoughtful management of it is beneficial not only to the University but to staff’s academic career and research impact potential. IP is not just tangible items such as patents, designs, manuscripts and pieces of art, but includes ideas, data, concepts and theories.
It is important to seek advice at an early stage regarding intellectual property, especially as part of the process for the development or review of a research contract.
The University's position on IP is set out in the Intellectual Property Policy.
Students and their supervisors need to ensure they are familiar with the University's position and procedures regarding the ownership of IP created by students and how this may impact on contractual arrangements with third parties and/or the creation of potentially commercialisable IP.
For details please refer to Clause 8 of the Intellectual Property Policy and Procedures relating to Student Intellectual Property, Confidentiality and Contractual Agreements.
Where it is determined that an external funder has specific terms relating to ownership of student IP, or where a student is working on a University research project which involves potentially commercialisable IP, the student may be requested to enter into arrangements with the University regarding:
- assignment of intellectual property;
- an undertaking of confidentiality;
- consent to potential infringement of moral rights; and/or
- revenue sharing provisions in relation to commercialised intellectual property.
Research Development and Support (RDS), in conjunction with Student IP Counsellors located in the Faculties, will arrange for IP counselling for students, as well as the formalisation of such arrangements in a Deed of IP Assignment. Students will, of course, be advised that they can seek external legal advice if they wish.
Note that funds will not be released or commercialisation progressed where a student agreement is required until it has been fully executed by the authorised delegate and the student(s) involved.
Moral rights are personal legal rights belonging to the creators of copyright works and cannot be transferred, assigned or sold. Only individual creators have moral rights, so these rights will continue to reside in staff and students who create copyright works.
Creators have the right:
- to be attributed (or credited) for their work;
- not to have their work falsely attributed; and
- not to have their work treated in a derogatory way.
Clause 10 of the Intellectual Property Policy sets out the University position in regard to Moral Rights.
Agreements will sometimes include conditions that allow for consent for acts or omissions which are contrary to the moral rights of the copyright creators. An example of this would be where a funder wishes to publish an excerpt or high level summary of a funded research project on their website without attributing the researchers involved in that summary. If this is the case, and the requested act or omission is reasonable, staff or students contributing copyrighted work under that agreement will be asked to sign an individual consent for infringement of their moral rights in relation to that work.
Commercialisation is essentially the process of converting research outcomes or an invention into a marketable product or process (and by marketable, it is meant “has a market application”).
Researchers pursuing commercial pathways or undertaking consultancies need to be familiar with the following policies:
- Cost Recovery and Pricing Policy
- Intellectual Property Policy
- Policy on Outside Professional Activities, and associated Guidelines and Form.
- Risk Management Policy
The University-owned company Flinders Partners Pty Ltd, takes research outcomes and expertise to market, providing a range of services and resources to assist researchers (including students) to identify and respond to commercial opportunities.
There are two methods of disclosure to Flinders Partners:
- You can log into their project disclosure software Strategiize and enter the details of your idea or project there. A commercialisation manager will be in contact with you shortly afterwards to discuss your project with you.
- You can arrange a meeting with one of their Commercial Managers. Please note, due to workloads, there may be waiting periods.
Once you have disclosed your project to Flinders Partners and the detail has been entered into Strategiize, Flinders Partners will conduct preliminary due diligence, and assess the commercial potential of the project output.
Further resources you may find useful…
- Types of Agreements
- IP Australia – a government site with clear information and useful tools in relation to intellectual property
- Australian Copyright Council - resources and comprehensive answers to frequently asked questions on copyright