Intellectual Property (IP) is the generic term for a number of different methods used to protect people’s new ideas and inventions. These include:
- design rights – both registered and unregistered
- database rights
- trade marks – both registered and unregistered
- confidential know-how or information
During the course of your normal work or research project, you may have an idea that might improve the way something is done. This could be an improved or new medical device, a set of training information, oreven a new filing system. If the innovation can be generalised and used by other organisations, then it should be considered IP and protected.
IP allows people to own their own creativity and innovation in the same way they can own their physical property. The owner of IP can control and be rewarded for its use. IP can be bought and sold as any other property. However, it requires legal protection to allow this process tooccur effectively.
In accordance with UK law, IP generated by NHS Forth Valley employees (in the course of the employee’s normal specified or assigned duties) normally belongs to the Board However, when any IP is generated that can be commercially exploited and produce income, the Board will draw up an income sharing agreement with the inventor and, usually, his / her department.
If you are undertaking a research project, the arrangements for dealing with any possible IP must be detailed in the protocol and the research ethics committee application. However, IP can often arise during the course of normal work activities. If you have an idea you believe can be considered IP it is important that you reveal to as few people as possible within NHS Forth Valley and if possible no-one outside of the organisation. Speak to the R&D office as soon as possible so we can help you get the idea protected.
Whether or not the innovation is research related, all employeesmust report any actual or potential IP to the R&D office. This will ensure that the idea is appropriately registered, help and advice on it;s development arranged, any rights assigned, and the best method of exploitation selected.
For further information on IP and Patents go to Scottish Health Innovations Ltd