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Ownership of intellectual property in education

Publication: Teaching Times

Publication: Teaching Times

Britain’s universities are gaining wide recognition for producing some of the most promising technology companies around today, with new technology breakthroughs never far from the headlines. This success brings its own complications, one of the most challenging being the ownership of the Intellectual Property (the “IP”).

Most universities will require the individuals carrying out the work to enter into some form of contractual arrangement (most commonly as an employment contract) in order to provide certainty as to what is expected between the parties. Typically a new company, the spin-out company, will be established in order to provide a vehicle for the ownership of the new technology. The shareholders of that company will normally comprise the individuals involved in researching the technology and representatives of the university.

The university is also likely to have formed its own policy in relation to the status of the IP for spin-out companies and it may be difficult to deviate from this…

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