Inventions, IP and licensing
The current Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy was adopted by the University on 12 December 2005. See the policy in full, in Chapter XIII of the University's Statutes and Ordinances, section "Intellectual Property Rights" - p1032 to p1040.
For clarification regarding specific clauses in IPR policy see the IPR guidance document.
For clarification on the responsibilities of Cambridge Enterprise and the Research Office under the IPR policy see the guidance note.
Inventions and patents
Cambridge Enterprise works with inventors and patent agents to draft strong patent applications. Once an application is filed, we will manage all stages of the patent prosecution and administration.
We work with an experienced copyright lawyer in the Legal Services Office to provide advice on copyright issues and to promote the effective commercialisation of copyright works (such as computer software).
Copyright provides the author or creator of an original work with certain rights concerning use of that work and governs use of the work by others. It arises automatically without the need for registration as soon as the work is created and recorded in a material form.
The general rule is that the first owner of copyright in a work is its author, who may, among other ways of dealing with the work, license use of that work to another person or organisation for specific purposes and time period or assign copyright i.e. transfer ownership, of copyright in that work to another person or organisation. In essence, copyright is a property right and may be bought or sold, inherited or bequeathed, or licensed or assigned in whole or in part.
Confidential Disclosure Agreements(CDAs)
A CDA is a legal agreement covering how information exchanged between two or more parties will be treated. These agreements are particularly important when you wish to ensure that your information, knowledge or research results are held in confidence prior to filing a patent application to allow a potential research or commercialisation partner to consider the merits of the idea or to limit how the disclosed information can be used.
The Research Office deals with CDAs where they relate to research at the University and can offer help and advice concerning confidentiality. They can put in place an appropriate agreement where necessary. For further information please see the Research Office's Confidentiality Disclosure Agreements pages.
Cambridge Enterprise can offer advice on CDAs relating to inventions in its portfolio and can assist with CDAs for commercialisation purposes, for example to cover discussions with companies about innovations developed at the University which a company may have an interest in licensing for commercial purposes.
Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)
A MTA is a contract which governs the transfer of one or more materials from the owner (or authorised licensee) to a third party, usually for internal research purposes. Materials may include cultures, cell lines, plasmids, nucleotides, proteins, bacteria, transgenic animals, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. MTAs can also be applicable for the transfer of materials in engineering or physical science applications.
Cambridge Enterprise can offer advice on MTAs relating to cases in its portfolio and can assist with MTAs for commercialisation purposes, for example to cover interactions with companies interested in evaluating the materials in conjunction with an invention or in using commercial channels to distribute the materials for research or commercial purposes.