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Joint Research Management Office

Intellectual property

Intellectual Property (IP) can involve creations of the mind, inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, or designs.

  • Intellectual Property (IP) is a type of property.
  • Like other forms of property, you can buy, sell and license IP.
  • However, unlike other types of property and the products it protects, IP cannot be seen or touched; it is something that is created by people from their minds (“intangible creations of the human intellect”) such as a story, an invention, an artistic work or a symbol.
  • You can own IP if you created it or bought it. Where IP is created by an employee the likelihood is that the IP will belong to its employer, unless the IP created is not related to the employee’s role and has been developed independently from their job.
  • IP can have more than one owner, belong to people or to businesses, and can be sold, transferred or licensed.
  • IP rights allow you to exploit the IP you own. Primarily this will involve making money, but may also involve the growth of intangible benefits such as goodwill.
  • IP rights can also enable their owner to take action under civil law to try and stop others from replicating, using, importing or selling their creation.
  • The main purpose of IP law is to encourage the creation of a wide variety of intellectual goods. To achieve this, the law gives people and businesses property rights to their IP for varying periods of time.

Understanding and protecting IP

One of the first things a business needs to do is understand if it should protect its IP. Time and money can be invested, only to later find the related IP already belongs to someone else. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has a set of online tools designed for businesses, business advisors, students and lecturers that enable users to:

  • Understand how IP works and what can be protected using patents, copyright, trademarks and designs.
  • Understand how to manage and use IP in their particular area.
  • Consider IP within business planning
  • Best leverage IP to protect investments and products

Contact us

If you are a Barts Health employee you can discuss your idea in confidence with Gerry Leonard, Director of Research Development: Gerry.leonard@nhs.net 

If you are a Queen Mary employee IP and Technology Transfer is managed by Queen Mary Innovations and you should contact Dr Michele Hill-Perkins: m.hill-perkins@qmul.ac.uk or 020 7882 5581.

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