It is accepted good practice within the university sector that: there should be a formalised document dealing comprehensively with its intellectual property (IP) policies; and, that reasonable efforts be made by both the university and researchers to both protect and exploit IP. These are also requirements of many of our research funders. For instance, in its Terms and Conditions for Research Council FEC Grants, RCUK states:
"It is the responsibility of the Research Organisation, and all engaged in the research, to make every reasonable effort to ensure that the outcomes obtained in the course of the research, whether patentable or not, are used to the advantage of society and the economy...
Unless stated otherwise, the ownership of intellectual property, and responsibility for its exploitation, rests with the organisation that generates it." See section GC21 RCUK Terms and Conditions
The Wellcome Trust has similar contractual requirements for research it funds.
Following a comprehensive review of other UK university IP policies, Royal Holloway's IP Policy was approved by Council in January 2008. Our policy is largely based (with their permission) on the University of Oxford's. As these documents go, we think it is relatively short, concise and is designed to be understood without recourse to a lawyer. The policy applies to all members of staff and research students. It should be read in conjunction with the Exploitation of Inventions and Patents Code of Practice, which determines how licensing income generated by College owned IP is shared between the researchers concerned and the College.
If you would like discuss any aspect of either policy, please contact Head of Intellectual Property and Contracts, Dr Kam Chauhan.