Like all research funding organisations, the NIHR needs to be confident that the outcomes of that research will make it through to delivering benefit. The NIHR recognises the key role of Intellectual Property (IP) in driving innovation, and the importance of a range of associated activities such as fostering a culture of invention through to collaborating with industry.
Intellectual Property means all patents, rights to inventions, copyright and related rights, trademarks and trade names, rights to goodwill or to sue for passing off, rights in designs, database rights, rights in confidential information (including in know-how) and any other intellectual property rights, in each case whether registered or unregistered and including all applications (or rights to apply) for, and renewals or extensions of, such rights and all similar or equivalent rights or forms of protection which subsist or will subsist now or in the future in any part of the world.
Foreground IP means any Intellectual Property that is created, generated or developed (whether in whole or in part) during the course of and for the purpose of any part of the Research. For the avoidance of doubt, this:
- includes Foreground IP generated by or on behalf of the NIHR Surgical MIC in the course of performing the Research; and
- excludes Arising Know How and Research Data; and
- excludes Intellectual Property that has been generated by the Contractor, Partner or Associate Partner without support from the NIHR MIC.
Arising Know How means Know How that is created, devised or generated by or on behalf of any of the Contractor, Partner or Associate Partner(s) in the course of the performance of the Research. Know How has the meaning given to it in Commission Regulation (EU) 316/2014 of 21 March 2014 at Article 1, 1(i).
Research Data means information or data which is not Personal Data that is collected or generated in the performance of the Research or any Research Project and includes (but is not limited to) information that is collated or stored in searchable form. For the avoidance of doubt, Research Data does not include information or data that has been analysed.
What does this mean for research funded by the Surgical MIC?
The position regarding Intellectual Property rights in these projects is the same as with regard to any other direct use of NIHR funding: –
- The award is subject to the terms of the Funding Agreement between Department of Health and Social Care and the host organisation of the Surgical MedTech Co-operative (The Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust).
- The awardee, or any collaborator of the awardee, can own NIHR-funded IP subject to the provisions of those contracts (provisions are available by request).
- The owner of NIHR-funded IP can use it in further research, teaching, and for other non-commercial purposes.
- Any commercial use of NIHR-funded IP (e.g. direct sale, licensing IP to use in a product or service, use for marketing or in a regulatory application, etc.) requires the prior written consent of NIHR and may be subject to conditions imposed by NIHR (e.g. requirement to share revenue with NIHR, etc.).
- “NIHR-funded IP”, in this case refers to data and results, as well as ‘true’ IP such as patentable inventions and so on. It also applies to improvements to Background IP funded by NIHR. The terms apply where NIHR funding has only partly-funded the generation of the IP, but it is assumed that NIHR’s consent requirement on commercialisation will consider the fact that it didn’t fully-fund the project.
- NIHR also has various lesser rights to copyright in progress reports, to take control of IP if it is not being properly exploited, etc.