Intellectual Property (IP)

Intellectual property (IP) is intangible property that is the result of creativity and innovation and which can be owned in a similar way to physical property.

IP law regulates the ownership and use of creative works. Some intellectual property rights (IPRs) exist without the need for registration, such as copyright. However, other IPRs, such as patents, come into existence only when an application to register a right is successful. Some IPRs, such as design rights and trademarks, may exist in either an unregistered or registered form; registration providing certain benefits that do not exist for unregistered IPRs. IP law is territorial, meaning that IPRs may vary from country to country.  

In the University context, IP can be viewed as the results and outcomes of research. As with other property, there may be commercial value in IP, which may be realised via various routes, including licensing or selling intellectual property rights (IPRs). The University of Oxford has an IP policy setting out the University's claims over IP generated by its employees and students.

IP Rights Management Team

The IP Rights Management Team is based within Research Services. The Team deals with a variety of IP queries, most especially with helping to establish whether parties outside of the University have a claim to any rights in the IP created by members of the University, by virtue of involvement in, or support for, the creation of the IP. The Team may also negotiate with external parties where rights clearance is required.

The Team works closely with Oxford University Innovation, the technology transfer company of the University of Oxford. Oxford University Innovation was established to help researchers in the University protect and commercialise their inventions.

What to do if you create IP

Members of the University who have created Intellectual Property are asked to contact Oxford University Innovation. IP/1 and IP/2 forms must be completed, signed by all researchers, and returned to Oxford University Innovation for onward transfer to the IP Rights Management Team. In addition, Oxford University Innovation requests a written description of new inventions by way of their invention record form. For more information, Oxford researchers may refer to the Oxford University Innovation website.

The Team will then work to establish ownership of the IP and to ensure the University/Oxford University Innovation comply with any obligations to funders or collaborators or other third parties.