Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind which can be legally owned and therefore protected from unauthorised use by others. This can be an invention, trade mark, design, brand, copyright or even the application of your idea.
Awareness of IP rights is an increasingly important issue for the University and its researchers. The University has a responsibility to manage the IP generated in the course of its education and research activities, so that it can add impact and value to its IP for the benefit of the University, industry, governments, research sectors and society in general.
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 4.4 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 Office of Graduate Research, 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 4.5 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 valuable, useful and marketable product or process (and by marketable, it is meant “has a market application”). It could involve consultancy and contract research and development activities as well as licensing of IP to a third party or spin-out company.
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 Commercialisation Managers in Research Development and Support (RDS) are your first port of call if you want to commercialise research outcomes. They provide a range of services and resources to assist researchers (including students) to identify and respond to commercial opportunities.
To contact the appropriate RDS Commercialisation Manager for your College, please visit the Strategic Partnerships including Research Commercialisation contact page.
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