Inventions, IP and licensing

Cambridge Enterprise licenses intellectual property rights (IPR) to organisations in the UK and overseas to support members of the University in commercialising their technology. We also support NHS employees with an Honorary University contract on the Addenbrooke's site.

The route to commercialisation

The two most common ways of commercialising research are starting a new company and licensing to a new or existing company. The best route depends on a variety of factors including:

  • The inventor’s plans for their future involvement in the commercialisation of the invention
  • Whether the technology is a one-off or part of a portfolio of inventions
  • The potential market for the idea.

What do licences cover?

A licence is a legal agreement in which the owner of intellectual property grants specific rights to another to use it, defining and protecting its use in products and processes. They may cover different types of intellectual property, for example patents, copyright and know-how.

Our team finds potential commercialisation partners through extensive industry contacts, specialist databases, searches on the web and targeted marketing. Researchers may already know of companies who could be interested in using the new technology.

We ask potential licensees to share plans for commercial development of products using University IPR and then agree to terms. The discussions typically cover:

  • The scope of the IPR
  • The field of use
  • Where the company will manufacture and sell the products
  • Length of the licence
  • Annual due diligence reporting on how the company is bringing the products to market
  • Payment terms.

Learn more about disclosing an invention.