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Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP) is sometimes referred to as Project Technology or Material. It means all know-how, discoveries, inventions, improvements and innovations and Intellectual Property Rights created by SCU during the course of and as a direct result of the carrying out of the Research Project and which in all cases fall in the Agreement Field. SCU staff and students should familiarise themselves with the SCU Intellectual Property Rights policy.

'Intellectual Property Rights' are generally defined in these terms:

  1. all rights with respect to copyright, patents, plant varieties, registered and unregistered trade marks, registered designs, rights in relation to trade secrets and know-how, circuits layouts and all other intellectual property as defined in Article 2 of the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organisation of July 1967; and
  2. the right to apply for the grant of any such rights; but does not include non-assignable rights such as moral rights.

There are many options when it comes to managing IP. The nature and value of the IP will influence the course of action you take, or the one we would recommend. From SCU's perspective, we need to understand what the researcher wants from the project. Eg, Are the outcomes of the project expected to be valuable? Are they only valuable to SCU, or are they valuable to all parties involve? Do you want to publish the results? Are the results potentially commercially sensitive? Do you just want to use the results for internal teaching and research? Do you need to protect the IP (patent, trademark etc.)?

Some options include:

  • One party owning all of the IP
  • One partying owning all of the IP, with a non exclusive licence given to the other party for non-commercial use.
  • Joint ownership of IP (only used in very rare circumstances).

SCU Background Intellectual Property

SCU Background Intellectual Property (BIP) includes SCU know-how, confidential information, inventions, discoveries, and Intellectual Property rights identified prior to the signing of the agreement that have been developed, invented or acquired by SCU prior to the commencement date of the agreement.

For an agreement we require a brief description of the BIP, sufficient to be included in the schedule to the contract (an outline of what the information is, and to whom it currently belongs). If this description of background IP isn't included in the agreement, there is a risk that the material may be treated as project IP.

For example, if you have data that you have collected prior to the agreement that you will be using during your project, you should outline what this data is, what it relates to, and who owns it (ie researcher/organisation).

If your project is intending to utilise some information that belongs to, or was collected by other researchers, this needs to be outlined as BIP, and SCU may need written authorisation from the individuals to use their IP. For further clarification, please contact Research Services.

When describing the BIP, we need to be able to distinguish between information that existed before the agreement was signed (background IP) and the information that will be generated as part of the project (project IP). Project IP and BIP are often subject to different clauses in the agreement, with different ownership implications applying.