WHY NOT YOU?
AN INTRODUCTION TO IP
We recently held a workshop ‘An introduction to IP and the Patenting Journey’ with contributions from specialist IP attorneys as well as a few of our very own Rothamsted inventors.
Here’s the key messages that came out from it.
THINK BROADLY ABOUT IP IN YOUR WORK
You should think of IP as ‘creations of the mind’ and not overlook the value of all outputs from your work.
New materials, techniques, tools, methodologies, models, software and data sets developed during projects can often prove invaluable in furthering science and innovation in various fields.
IP RIGHTS ARE ESTABLISHED BY LAW - BUT COULD ALSO BE ESTABLISHED THROUGH CONTRACTS
Here is a quick summary of Kathy’s and Mark’s key take-away messages about rights established by law.
And here is a quick summary of some key points about IP considerations in legal agreements
CHECK IF IP PROTECTION IS NEEDED TO DELIVER IMPACT
If the best route to impact for your science is through commercial activities, then it’s important for you to consider if IP protection is needed to allow companies to engage with the opportunities enabled by your research.
It isn’t always the case, as in certain areas of innovation a first mover advantage is more important than IP protection, so work with the technology transfer professionals in your organisation to establish how best to approach your IP.
LOOK AFTER YOUR INTERESTS WHEN COLLABORATING WITH THIRD PARTIES
But it’s not just about commercialisation - IP rights can also affect future research.
Especially when working with external parties, academic or commercial, scientists need to:
· Protect their right to continue to use their exiting Intellectual Property in future research
· Protect their right to use the results which they will want to use in future research
This ‘protection’ is usually defined in terms and conditions outlined in the legal agreement signed by collaborators involved in a project – which should reflect how partners expect existing IP and resulting IP to be managed.
Work with the professionals in the legal team of your organisation to ensure agreements are right for you.
ENSURE THAT YOU ARE NOT INFRINGING THE IP RIGHTS OF OTHERS WHEN DOING YOUR RESEARCH
Another point not to be overlooked, is the need for scientists to ensure that they have the right to use third party IP in their projects.
Just because a technology has been described in a scientific publication, one shouldn’t assume that it would be freely available for any use. If the organisations behind those technologies have protected their rights over it, they might want to control how it is used by commercial entities and sometimes academic organisations too.
A huge THANK YOU to Kathy Lumsden and Mark Sweetinburgh, from Sweetinburgh and Windsor, Rothamsted inventors Prof Johnathan Napier, Dr Matthew Paul and Dr Kim Hammond-Kosack and Rothamsted’s Head of KEC Dr Matthew Rose, for their invaluable input into our workshop.