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Intellectual Property

The term Intellectual Property (IP) refers broadly to the creations of the human mind. IP can include inventions, industrial processes, software, data, written work, designs and images. People who generate IP are commonly known as inventors or creators. IP has owner/s and can be bought, sold or licensed.  Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) protects the interests of creators by giving them property rights over their creations (to prevent others from exploiting their property) for a limited period of time as established by the law. 

IP should not be given away, by granting an exclusive right, patents, for example, provide incentives to individuals and organisations, offering them recognition for their creativity and material reward for their marketable inventions. These incentives encourage innovation, which, in turn, contributes to the continuing advancements in research and patient care.

Research that is to be sponsored by a Noclor partner where IP is likely to be utilised or generated should be discussed with Noclor as early as possible in the development of the research. The Chief Investigator will be asked about IP in the sponsorship request process.  If you are unsure about IP please contact the Noclor for advice.

Who owns IP?

The Department of Health require that the Trust, which has been awarded the funding from the NIHR; for a particular research project, should own the IP and actively manages its IP in case other collaborators are involved.

In the case of other externally-funded work, arrangements may be made for the funding body or company to own the IP or for the Trust to have a share of the rights, as the case may be.

Staff from the members Trusts of Noclor should ensure that any original work, manuscript, data, report, or other written material in which copyright belongs to the Trust bears a statement that the copyright belongs to the relevant Trust. This should normally take the form of ‘© [x] NHS [Foundation] Trust. All rights reserved’. Refer to local Trust IP policy.

IP ownership for staff with joint appointments

Where employees have a joint appointment with another organisation then the ownership of any IP developed by the individual will be joint between the employing organisations depending on the terms of the employment by each organisation. The determination of ownership in these circumstances will be on a ‘case by case’ basis and will be subject to a written agreement between the parties with due regard to the financial investment of each organisation in the development of each item of IP.  

What to do if you think you have IP

If you believe you have created, developed or discovered anything that could give rise to IP then contact the Noclor Head of R&D for guidance.

Noclor has access to IP, legal and marketing expertise internally and has established links with local Universities so that a decision can be made on whether the IP can and should be protected.