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Reviewing our intellectual property policy

20 Feb 2020

Intellectual property policy to be re-written to incorporate feedback and to support our new vision and strategic plan

Dear colleagues,

Proper treatment of intellectual property (IP) is very important and we have an IP policy that aims to strike the right balance between society’s need for access to breakthrough science and technology, incentivising staff and rewarding universities and their stakeholders. 

I recognise how important a policy such as this is when I read about a US jury ordering two companies to pay the California Institute of Technology $1.1bn (£845m) for infringing several Caltech patents. Though exceptional, it shows the financial impact that university IP can have. 

To ensure our policy continues to be relevant, we are reviewing it so that it incorporates a number of elements. Firstly, a discussion and approval of recommendations that took place at Senate last October. Secondly, our new vision and strategic plan, in particular the innovation theme and the ambition to be recognised globally as Europe’s most innovative university by 2025. 

Key to achieving this European ambition are our business engagement, research commercialisation and student enterprise activities – all of which often have an IP dimension. 

We have already made some changes to existing revenue sharing arrangements that are intended to promote increased engagement in each of these activities, whilst at the same time finding the right balance of reward for the University to enable it to reinvest in research, from which new IP will be generated. 

The revisions to the IP policy, which will be published at Easter, will look to:

  • improve the look-and-feel of the document to ensure it is simple and user-friendly
  • provide clarifications on a number of aspects
  • explore more dynamic ways of displaying and disseminating the Policy
  • provide examples of how the Policy works in various practical situations

You can find out more in a summary of the approved key recommendations, including details of particular apportionment of IP returns changes. , can be found alongside the existing policy

If you have any comments, contributions or questions, please contact Clive Rowland, our Associate Vice-President (Intellectual Property).


Professor Luke Georghiou

Deputy President & Deputy Vice-Chancellor

More information