The University recognizes the multiple benefits of the transfer and exploitation of scientific research results for the institution, its employees and the larger society. As such it encourages interactions and collaborations with external academic partners as well as with industry or any other type of organizations.
Through the definition of several ground rules regarding the Intellectual Property (IP) created by its researchers, the University ensures that project results are managed in a consistent and clear manner ("Loi sur l'Université", "Règlement concernant le fonds de tiers de l'Université de Neuchâtel" et "Règlement concernant la valorisation de la recherche"). The key points of the University's policy with respect to its IP are summarized in the IP Policy Flyer.
Before you commence your work on a particular project please bear in mind that:
UniNE owns IP
UniNE owns and manages all IP generated by its researchers in the course of their employment with the University with the exception of copyrights for literary works which are held by the authors (Loi sur l'Université, art. 73.1).
Principal Investigators beware that students without employment contracts with the University, such as undergraduates and master students, will by default own any results they generate. Students should therefore only be introduced to projects of commercial interest if they have signed an agreement to transfer their rights in any future project results to the University. The TTO will prepare and negotiate an appropriate agreement to this effect.
The TTO is tasked with the management of University IP including its protection, transfer and commercialisation and will support UniNE researchers to this end. (Règlement concernant la valorisation de la recherche., art. 10.2, and art.11).
Contact TTO before you start
Appropriate agreements governing ownership and management of the IP as well as publication rights must be negotiated and executed prior to commencement of a collaborative project with external parties.
Please contact your TTO as soon as either (i) funding for a project with an external party has been awarded, or (ii) you have developed a project work plan with an external collaborating party for a project that is either funded by the external party or funded jointly by the participating parties.
If you intend to prepare an application to a funding agency with which you never worked before, it is advisable that you contact the TTO before doing so. Together with your TTO you can decide if the legal constraints imposed by the agency are suited to your particular project. Meet with us and fill us in on the details of your collaboration and we will draw up and/or negotiate a suitable agreement.
Disclose IP to the TTO
Any IP with a potential commercial application must be disclosed to the TTO in advance of its publication (Règlement valorisation, art. 10) .
If you consider your project outputs to be of commercial interest, it is absolutely crucial that your project results have never been disclosed publicly (including abstracts, posters, blogs, casual discussions with external parties, etc) before filing apatent application. Premature publication will drastically diminish the commercial potential of the IP, and will even void any subsequently granted patent. Please discuss your results with us early and complete an Invention Disclosure Form (IDF) to enable a more detailed evaluation of the IP. Your TTO recognizes that the publication of your results is a key element in your academic career and aims to manage the evaluation and protection of the IP in a way that a publication is still possible within reasonable delays. Be aware that IP protection does not prevent publication, but that a premature publication could prevent any IP protection. An astute management of the timing of events allows for both, the publication as well as the protection of your results.
Sharing of revenues
Any net revenues arising from the transfer of the IP will be in general shared in equal parts between (i) the inventors, (ii) the unit where the IP was generated, and (iii) the University to be allocated to TT operations and funding of patents (Règlement concernant la valorisation de la recherche, art. 14) or Share of revenue.
The inventors in turn have to agree on how they wish to split the allocated revenue between themselves. Ideally this should be done as soon as you disclose the IP to your TTO and should be captured in the IDF. The TTO will keep a record of this agreement.