Intellectual Property

EquipmentIntellectual property normally refers to such things as patents, trademarks, industrial designs, confidential information, trade secrets, copyright, and integrated circuit topography (microchip) protection.¹ It is applicable to works of both commercial and non-commercial value.

When you intend to collaborate on research, issues of authorship and ownership should be discussed and agreed upon before undertaking the project. In the case where an agency has agreed to provide financial support, a legally binding contract is normally drawn up. Contracts usually detail conditions related to the scope and nature of the research, ownership of intellectual property, publication of results, and confidentiality of information supplied or created. With research grants, which have no formal stipulations or conditions, ownership of intellectual property arising from research normally resides with the principal investigator. These are some of the questions you should be able to answer about intellectual property before you begin any collaborative or privately-sponsored research:

  • Who will retain ownership of intellectual property—patent rights, copyright, and licensing arrangements?
  • Who will retain ownership of research data (for example, raw scientific data, biological samples, laboratory notebooks, questionnaires, research protocols, manuscript drafts, technical data, and computer software)? What will be the conditions of access?
  • Does your team or academic unit have guidelines for the authorship and acknowledgement of reports and publications resulting from the research?

For more information consult the following documents:

Next: Data collection storage and access

In undertaking scholarly work you will collect data, analyze it, and report your results. Whether your work is in the library, lab, or field, you must ensure that your data is completely and accurately recorded, safely stored, and made accessible to legitimate researchers...

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¹Lesley Ellen Harris. Canadian copyright law, 2nd ed. Whitby, Ontario: McGraw Hill Ryerson, 1995.