Key Questions Answered
Will patenting my invention stop me from publishing information relating to the patent?
No. However, it is advisable to inform us in good time if and when you wish to publish so that we can work with you to ensure that information released in a publication does not jeopardise a potential patent position.
What should I do if a company wants to talk to me (or vice versa)?
Contact us beforehand and, if appropriate, we can draw up a confidential disclosure agreement so that you can have mutually open discussions. (This is advisable even if a patent application has been filed.)
Can my students see confidential information?
Yes. However, they should be advised that the information is to be held confidential and to remind them that they are bound by the same regulations of secrecy as University staff.
How important is my laboratory notebook for the patent process?
Keeping laboratory notebooks is an essential and regular part of a researcher's routine. A secure, formalised record can also be a crucial factor in obtaining patent protection.
Will patenting and exploiting this work stop me from carrying out further research in this area?
No. Patenting ensures protection for the researcher's continued work. When engaging in exploitation arrangements, we protect the researchers' and the University's position to allow freedom for continued research in the area of work.
What constitutes a good idea or invention from a commercial perspective?
Any idea or invention that demonstrates sufficient economic potential to justify the financial and resource commitment to R&D and commercialisation. Ideally, products should be able to fulfil existing needs that are unmet, or create a new market.
Who owns the intellectual property which I create?
IP ownership is a very complex issue but any IP that originates from research carried out at The University of Manchester is owned by The University and managed by UMIP (unless there are prior agreements in place). However, the researcher(s) can play a very active role in deciding what happens to the IP and we always recognise their contribution. It's also quite often the case that the IP alone will not lead to successful commercialisation, the know-how and expertise of the research team is key and we want them on board wherever possible.
What if I want to commercialise an idea but UMIP cannot help me?
Although we'd like to help develop every idea that comes to us, clearly we have to make choices, the basis of which will be discussed with you. But, even if we don't actively help to take your idea forward, we'll try to point you to other people and organisations that you can go to for help. We'll also give you as much feedback, input and direction as we can, and we'll remain very open to transferring IP to you.
What can I expect to get for my idea and hard work?
What do you want and what's it worth! The answer does, in large part, depend on just that. If we all agree that you should start a company in which you're the full time CEO or CSO, we'll help you. Equally, if the best option is to outlicense the IP derived from your idea, we'll do that too and ensure that you are rewarded.
How and when should I approach UMIP with an idea?
As soon as possible after you have the idea. That will allow us to guide you with respect to further proof of principle, R&D etc and to get the ball rolling with respect to other commercial activities, e.g. any market research, that may be needed.
I think I can manage on my own, why should I use UMIP?
Generally speaking, most innovative ideas need a team of experts to conceive and implement a successful commercialisation strategy. You provide the innovative ideas and we'll provide the commercial expertise, network of contacts, resources and, if necessary a 'surrogate entrepreneur' to help get your idea 'off the ground'. Whatever the route to commercialisation, UMIP must be involved to expedite IP matters and manage the interests of The University.
Who should I approach first of all?
Any of our commercialisation executives. They'll ensure that you are then passed to the best person for you to work with.