Managing intellectual property

The Research Governance Framework requires consideration to be given to the appropriate exploitation of intellectual property rights (IPR) arising from research.

Intellectual property rights are defined as legally protected rights which enable owners of items of intellectual property to exert monopoly control over the exploitation of these rights, usually for commercial gain. As IPR formally recognise rights of owners, it enables the resulting property to be bought, sold or licensed from an owner to other individual(s).

There are five main types of IPR:

  • Patents
  • Confidential Information and Know-How
  • Copyright
  • Trade Marks
  • Design Rights – Registered and Unregistered.

The Trust's policy is to encourage and enable employees to participate in the generation and exploitation of Intellectual Property (IP) as part of its commitment to delivering the best possible patient care.

The Trust recognises that from time to time, during the normal course of employment, an employee may generate IP which may have value in the delivery of better patient care. IP (patents, copyright, design rights, trademarks, know-how) which arises in, or could reasonably be expected to arise from, the course of the normal duties of an employee undertaking R&D normally belongs to the Trust, unless an existing contract with either the employee or with another party (such as an external sponsor) overrules.

For employees generating IP outside R&D, particularly patentable IP, it is not always clear where ownership lies. However, in return for assignment of the IP to the Trust, the Trust will offer employees the same potential benefit as to others where ownership by the Trust is more clearly defined.  The Trust will then undertake to evaluate and exploit the IP when appropriate.

Members of the Trust's staff are not allowed to exploit any IP Rights without the specific approval of the R&D Manager, who acts as the Trust's Intellectual Property Lead.  In addition staff are required to give the Trust all reasonable assistance required in order to protect and exploit the IP.

Any researchers (or other members of staff) who have inventions or ideas they wish to discuss should contact the R&D department, as soon as possible.