Intellectual property is a generic term which encompasses all expressions of human creativity. If you own some Intellectual Property, then you are said to have Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). In general, IPRs are monopoly rights to use the intellectual property. There are many different ways in which rights may be asserted. Some of these are automatic, some require formal registration to achieve protection. In any case, it is for the owner of these rights to police for infringement. The different forms are summarised as:
Any intellectual property rights are subject to limitations in several ways:
The University and You
Ownership of IPR is dealt with through UK statute and common law. In the UK, employees are subject to the provisions of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Patents Act 1977. The basic principle is that the employer will normally own the intellectual property rights to any work generated by the employee in the normal course of their employment. This is interpreted quite widely in the courts. To clarify the situation within the University the policy relating to intellectual property rights stated in the University's Financial Regulations, in financial procedure 13. In summary, this is as follows:
Financial Procedure 13:
When IPR may arise as a result of your work, you should always:
Where to Get Advice Warwick Ventures can help with:
REMEMBER, Any public disclosure, whether by word of mouth, demonstration, publication of a paper or article, or advertisement could prevent award of, in particular, a patent. If third parties are involved it is essential that if a disclosure is made to them, they are bound by a confidentiality agreement. Warwick Ventures can help with this. (NOTE: A CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT IS NO GUARANTEE AGAINST UNSCRUPULOUS BUSINESS PRACTICES.) Disputes in this field are normally very difficult to prove and litigation is very costly, so it is essential that records are kept of any disclosure which takes place under such an agreement, with dates, times, individuals and details of disclosed information.