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A quick guide to intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) encompasses the expression of ideas, information and knowledge. IP includes not only discoveries and inventions but also music, literature and other artistic works, as well as words, phrases, symbols and designs.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are the legal rights protecting the owners of IP. The first owner of IP is normally either the person who invents, authors or designs the IP, or their employer (depending on the contractual arrangements governing their work). Commercial exploitation of the IP can occur directly by the owner of the IP, or by licensing the IP to be used by other companies.


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IPR - what can be licensed?

  • Copyright – the expression of ideas (for example, software)
  • Database rights – collections of data (for example, customer details)
  • Design rights – designs (for example, the shape and appearance of packaging such as Coca-Cola’s distinctive bottles)
  • Knowledge – know-how (for example, recipes can be a trade secret)
  • Patents – how something works (for example, a new material)
  • Research reagents – materials produced in laboratory research (for example, model organisms, proteins, DNA/RNA, etc)
  • Trademarks – the designation of origin and reputation of goods and services (for example, a logo)

We follow the University IPR Policy, which sets out the IP rights roles and responsibilities of all those working with IP generated by staff and students within the University, and determines how revenue from commercialisation is shared between you, your Department and the University. Please access more information via the links below.

Explore our IP FAQs

Review our answers to your most frequently asked questions

Read IP FAQs