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Intellectual property and patents

Intellectual property (IP) can be defined as the novel tangible output of an intellectual or creative activity. Within the University environment it is often viewed as the product of research projects and collaborations.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) are the legally protected rights which enable owners of IP to exert a monopoly control over the exploitation of these rights, usually with commercial gain in mind. IPR can be bought, sold and licensed. It is the role of the Intellectual Property Management Office to assess the most appropriate way to protect IP arising from within the University and to take appropriate action to ensure that the IP is protected adequately.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) that are available for the protection of intellectual property, include but are not limited to the following:

  • Patents protect inventions that are new products or processes.
  • Copyright protects against the copying of original work such as books, paintings, musical scores and films, and also protects theses, computer code in software and multimedia works.
  • Plant Breeders Rights specifically protect new varieties of plants, and prevent anyone from the production / reproduction and selling of propagating materials.
  • Registered and Unregistered Designs protect (respectively) the appearance and functional design of an article.
  • Trade marks protect the name, brand, image or logo of an organisation, product or service.
  • Database rights protect against extraction or re-utilisation of all or a substantial part of a database.
  • Confidential know-how has value and can be traded as long as it is kept confidential.