Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Intellectual property

Intellectual property covers creations of the mind, it’s much more than patents. It includes inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols, names and images.

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) can arise at any point in your research work, often associated with research outcomes you wish to publish. IPR often appear when thinking about applications and uses of your research work.

Although patents may be considered the primary type of IPR, other types of intellectual property can be equally valuable. Types of intellectual property rights in the UK are:

  • Patents
  • Copyright
  • Registered designs
  • Unregistered designs
  • Trademarks
  • Trade Secrets
  • Plant breeders rights

Software and algorithms can also be protected, sometimes by patents or by copyright, but the criteria are different in different territories, so you should get in touch to speak to our experts.

What to do

When intellectual property rights (IPR) may arise as a result of your work, you should always:

  • Keep disclosure to a minimum
  • Not publish before filing date
  • Inform Warwick Innovations at the earliest opportunity
  • Keep good records - log books, dates and witness
  • Put copyright statements on computer software.


Identifying and protecting IPR and successfully commercialising research can be a complicated legal, commercial and technical journey but incredibly rewarding. Commercialising your research will improve your capabilities and productivity as a professional scientist. If you are in any doubt that your research outcomes have a future commercial value, check in with the Warwick Innovation team.

  • Navigate patent processes: Our experts will guide you through the intricacies of patent applications, from filing to thorough patent searches.
  • Ownership and exploitation negotiation: We facilitate negotiations for ownership and the strategic exploitation of intellectual property rights with third parties and potential sponsors, ensuring that your innovations reach their full potential.
  • Maximise commercial potential: We provide insights and support to help you maximise the commercial potential of your ideas, helping you to generate economic, social, and environmental impact.

Important information

Any public disclosure, whether by word of mouth, demonstration, publication of a paper or article, or advertisement could prevent award of, in particular, a patent.

If third parties are involved it is essential that if a disclosure is made to them, they are bound by a confidentiality agreement.

We can help with this, although a confidentiality agreement is no guarantee against unscrupulous business practices.

Disputes in this field are normally very difficult to prove and litigation is very costly, so it is essential that records are kept of any disclosure which takes place under such an agreement, with dates, times, individuals and details of disclosed information.

Talk to us first

If you need any help or advice, please contact us.

Find out more