Protecting Intellectual Property
When it comes to the disclosure of research results, the timing and sequence of events are decisive for their protection and their future value.
The golden rule is:
If you wish to commercially exploit your research do not disclose these results to anyone before you discussed them with your Tech Transfer Office (TTO).
Intangible IP assets can also be linked to materials. Consequently, IP can inadvertently be transferred through the distribution of these materials. Hence, if you wish to share materials with external partners (academic or industrial) please contact your TTO and we can advise if a Material Transfer Agreement ( MTA) is necessary.
Independent of your field of work and if you are interested in your IP you should keep systematically laboratory notebooks in which you keep track of your work. These books should be written with permanent pens (no pencil), be dated for each entry, and be regularly signed by a third party, normally your supervisor. Each entry should identify the project to which the work relates. With a diligently maintained lab notebook it will be much easier to prove the creation of your IP, including the date. It is advisable to keep a separate Laboratory Book for IP sensitive projects.
Paper laboratory notebooks are still very widely used, as electronic means need to comply with certain criteria to ensure that they cannot be tempered with. Obviously, you can print your electronic documents, date and sign them and store them in a specific non-public and safe place.